TA protesters: Gov’t drowning the public

Thousands rally against occupation, Gaza blockade.

June 6, 2010 05:13
2 minute read.
girls at tel-aviv protest

Tel Aviv protest 311. (photo credit: Ben Hartman)

Thousands of people rallied in Tel Aviv on Saturday to protest 43 years of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, and a government that organizers said is “drowning Israel.”

The protesters began their demonstration by marching from Rabin Square to the Tel Aviv Museum, where speeches were delivered.

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The demonstration, which was held under the slogan “The government is drowning us all,” was originally planned solely to protest the occupation, but following last Monday’s deadly raid on a Turkish vessel trying to run the Gaza blockade, the rally also addressed the government’s policies in regard to the Gaza Strip and the operation that left nine foreigners dead and several IDF soldiers wounded.

Dozens of counter-protesters periodically attempted to disrupt the demonstration, and at one point a smoke grenade was thrown at the rally. The main rally was held at the museum, while counter-protesters gathered in an adjacent patch of sidewalk, sang the praises of the Israel Navy commandos and “Hatikva.”

At the end of the demonstration, Gush Shalom founder Uri Avnery, 86, said that he and his wife were attacked by about a dozen people taking part in the counter-protest. They were lightly injured but did not require medical treatment.

As busloads of left-wing activists drove past at the end of the evening, counter-protesters chanted “traitors,” “terror supporters,” and “go to Gaza” behind a wall of border policemen and YASAM riot police.

Organizers say demonstration was bigger than expected

Adam Keller, a spokesman for Gush Shalom, one of the organizers of the event, told The Jerusalem Post it “was an even bigger success than he expected” and that he believes the past week’s events had led to an increase in the number of participants.

“Many people didn’t agree over what level they oppose this government, but they feel suffocated by it, and feel that it is antagonizing the entire world,” he said.

Yariv Oppenheimer, who heads Peace Now, said the demonstration was much larger than he expected and that it showed that “people are opposed to this government that is driving us toward international isolation.”

Oppenheimer added that he hoped the larger-than-expected rally leads to a new wave of opposition to the government, and praised what he said was a lack of anti-IDF slogans, placards and sentiments at the rally.

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