Right-wing Reut rally-goers arrested

Activists planned demo to protest eviction of 3 W. Bank settlers in advance of olive harvest season.

gaza settlers 88 (photo credit:)
gaza settlers 88
(photo credit: )
Some right-wing 50 activists were detained Tuesday night at the Modi'in police station for their involvement in a rally at Reut to protest the temporary eviction of three settlers from the West Bank in advance of the olive harvest season. OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Shamni issued the restraining orders against the three settlers, who the IDF said were provocateurs. On Tuesday evening, right-wing activists had planned a rally in Reut in front of Shamni's home in defense of the three, who they say were innocent of any wrongdoing and should not be kept away from their homes. But many of the activists were stopped by police en-route and never made it to the rally. Police said they detained the activists before their arrival at the rally as well as those at the event itself on the grounds that they were participating in an illegal demonstration. Among those detained were Nadia Matar of Women in Green, former Kedumim mayor Daniella Weiss and Yehudit Katzover of Kiryat Arba. Matar said that it was not illegal to stand on a sidewalk holding signs and that the activists had every right to be there. But she said many of the demonstrators never made it to the rally because police stopped a bus from Kiryat Araba in the Maccabim area. Police, she said, told the bus driver they had pulled him over because his wheels looked like they were not up to code, before taking him and his passengers to the police station. Matar said her car, which was traveling behind the bus was also stopped and a police officer asked her where she was going. She responded, "I do not have to tell you where I am going." The police then told her she was being detained on suspicion of planning to participate in an illegal demonstration. Matar accused the police of depriving the activists of their democratic rights. A police spokeswoman said in response that "we live in a democratic country with freedom of speech, but conditions must be met before demonstrations are held. This demonstration received no prior approval." The spokeswoman added that police acted to prevent the activists from reaching the demonstration area, adding that police had the power to stop a vehicle with protesters far from the scene of the demonstration, if it had information that the protesters were en route to an illegal rally. Following the activists' arrest, MK Aryeh Eldad (NU/NRP) told Public Security Minister Avi Dichter that "the policemen prevented the activists from getting off the bus under false pretenses. We are not a totalitarian state where the police can do as they please."