Activists to announce new steps in social protests

One activist says there will be an unprecedented 1,000 table country-wide discussion, planned from Rosh Pina to Beersheba.

September 5, 2011 22:21
3 minute read.
Student Union takes down Rothschild tent in TA

Tent City Dismantled 311. (photo credit: ben Hartman)

Activists at the center of the social issues protest movement are preparing a schedule of events and protest actions for the coming weeks that will be announced at a press conference on Tuesday morning in Jerusalem.

Tel Aviv resident Yonatan Levy, one of the initiators of the Rothschild tent city that launched the movement, said on Monday that the steps will include a wide range of initiatives beyond just street protests.

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“We will see all types of grassroots ideas and initiatives in the coming weeks in which people from tent cities across the country will come up with to take the protest into the next stage,” said Levy.

Levy said activists were meeting in Tel Aviv on Monday to hammer out new protest measures for the post-street protests stage of the movement, and that by Tuesday they should have a clearer idea of what’s next.

One protest action that will be launched this weekend in lieu of street protests is the nation-wide “one thousand tables” initiative, to be held in cities across Israel.

Organizers of the action say it will include the holding of round-table discussions in which participants will debate how to solve the quality of life issues facing Israel. According to the initiative’s Facebook page the meetings will be “an unprecedented event” in which 1,000 tables will be set up across the country “to hold transparent, straightforward discussions in Tel Aviv and across Israel simultaneously.”

The Facebook page says the protocols of the discussions will be posted on giant screens in real time at each meeting and will be collected for further consultation by supporters of the movement down the road.

In addition to the Tel Aviv Museum and Hamedina Square in Tel Aviv, round-table discussions will also be held in Jerusalem, Tirat Carmel, Rosh Pina, Tibon, Beersheba and Haifa, among others.

Regardless of what protest actions are taken, a stroll down Rothschild Boulevard makes it clear the strip that only a few weeks ago was the throbbing heart of a protest movement and 24/7 street festival, has become far more sedate, even if the majority of the tents still remain.

Be it fatigue after more than seven weeks of protests that reached their peak on Saturday, it’s clear that while the movement is far from dead, it has reached a turning point in which the initial vibrancy and excitement is no longer as apparent at street level.

Levy said that changes taking place in the campsites, many of which are being partially or fully broken down, was expected all along and doesn’t change the seriousness of the protest.

“It was obvious all along that the stage would come where the campsites would change or that some people would eventually fold up their tents. We knew this all along. If the make-up of the campsites change or if they take on a new form it doesn’t mean that the hopes or dreams of people have changed.”

Levy, who in “the life he put on hold” as the protest movement took off was the editor of the African migrant newspaper the Refugee Voice, added that Saturday’s mass protest that brought over 400,000 Israelis into the streets across the country gives further inclination to soldier on, rather than a reason to pack up and finish at the peak.

“The amazing show of strength that we put on Saturday night was a final and clear answer that the people of Israel are behind this agenda. We are not going to stop, there is an amazing energy in the air that should be utilized.”

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