Social justice protests canceled after terror attacks

Organizers vow social justice protest will continue after security events in South end; tent city leader denies report political party being planned.

By MELANIE LIDMAN
August 18, 2011 18:26
2 minute read.
Young activists at tent city protests

Tent city protests. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

 
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Social justice protests have been canceled for the coming days, including a mass rally planned for Saturday night in Jerusalem, following combined terror attacks in the South of Israel that left seven Israelis dead and over two dozen wounded on Thursday afternoon.

The National Union of Israeli Students announced the cancellation of the rallies a few hours after the attack and issued a statement saying that it "is lowering its head on this difficult day, joins the families in mourning, and wishes the wounded a speedy recovery."

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This will make Saturday night the first time in five weeks that the movement hasn't held a series of protests.

Editors of the movement's J14.org.il web site said Thursday that the attack would not derail the protests but that over the next couple days they would not hold any large protests, concerts, or celebrations. They also canceled a music concert scheduled for the Hatikvah neighborhood tent city on Thursday, as well as a solidarity trip to the Negev town of Yeruham planned for Friday.

Spokesman for the tent city protest movement Roee Neuman issued a statement Thursday afternoon in which he said that protesters are "in mourning for the families of the killed and wounded and support the government and security services in their fight against the terrorism that threatens all of our lives. In solidarity, we have decided to cancel the main rally in Jerusalem, and others that were scheduled for elsewhere in Israel."

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post on Thursday, Itai Gutler, head of the Hebrew University Student Union said holding the rally "wasn’t the right thing to do, and it wasn’t suitable given the public atmosphere that’s going on right now."

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He added that the demonstration was canceled "in solidarity with families of people killed in terrorist attack."

But Gutler refused to believe that a terrorist attack would derail the revolutionary spirit sweeping the country.

"I don’t think this has any connection that will affect the revolution," he said. "The nation isn't going to stop because of this terrorist attack. The revolution will continue, because this won't change things in the country," like the cost of housing or childcare.

Also on Thursday, protest leaders denied a front page story in Ma'ariv that said that protesters were planning to launch their own political party.

Yonatan Levi, one of the original seven leaders of the Rothschild tent city said "its complete nonsense and I have no idea where the story came from. It's a very big movement though and there are all types of people involved who may have their own goals, but no one from the central protest leadership is looking to enter politics."

Levi also said that the protest movement would go on in the wake of the terror attacks but that events in the coming days would be canceled as a show of solidarity with the victims.

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