Court orders release of 8 arrested in TA housing rally

All but one are released on conditions, including a one-week ban from entering "Tent City" protest camp; police had sought remand extension.

July 24, 2011 16:51
2 minute read.
Tel aviv rally against high housing costs

Tel Aviv Housing protest crowd demonstration 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)


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In a remand hearing Sunday, the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court ruled to release eight people arrested during a rally at the corner of Rehovs Dizengoff and Ibn Gavirol Saturday night.

One of the eight was released unconditionally, but the remaining seven were released on bail conditions. The court also issued an injunction that bans the seven protesters released on bail from entering the 'tent city' protest encampment on Rothschild Boulevard for the next seven days.

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Police had sought to prolong the detention of all eight protesters, who are suspected of offenses including assaulting police officers, damaging property and throwing a smoke grenade during the protest.

The eight were arrested at the end of Saturday night's mass protest against high housing costs, when hundreds of demonstrators blocked Rehov Ibn Gvirol in the city center, and began hurling objects and bottles at police, according to a Tel Aviv police statement.

The remainder of the 43 people who were arrested on suspicion of attacking police and disturbing public order during the rally were released.

Police said hundreds of activists were permitted to block roads at the end of Saturday night's demonstration, but that "a group of law breakers chose to attack officers, threw stun and smoke grenades and bottles at officers, as well as dragging garbage cans."

"We warned them repeatedly that they would be dispersed, and those who did not respond were subjected to reasonable force," Tel Aviv police said.

Police accused hundreds of suspects of "cynically using the good will of officers to allow for freedom of expression and demonstration to riot."

Demonstrators in turn accused police of being violent and using excessive force.

Earlier Saturday night, tens of thousands gathered in central Tel Aviv for a rally against soaring housing prices and the high cost of living.

The rally, which was the country’s biggest social-issues demonstration in years, brought together people from tent cities across the country, who have been camping over the past week, as well as tens of thousands of other Israelis from all walks of life.

Chanting, “We want social justice, not charity” and, “The people want social justice,” the protesters marched from Kikar Habimah to the Tel Aviv Museum, where they held the demonstration.

Ben Hartman contributed to this report

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