Social protest activists: Police using intimidation

5 activists asked to come in for questioning; 'I'm a law abiding citizen, why do I have to tell them my plans?' Tamir Hgage tells 'Post.'

By
June 12, 2012 22:18
2 minute read.
Rabin Square social justice protest

Rabin Square social justice protest 370. (photo credit: Ben Hartman)

 
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Social justice activists have slammed police requests for five of them to come in for questioning, calling the requests intimidation tactics ahead of a summer of planned events.

In recent days, five activists had police officers arrive at their homes and issue requests for them to come down to local stations and discuss summer protest plans.

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Police released a short statement Tuesday saying that it fully respected the democratic right to hold protests, and adding that the only condition was that they be held with approval, in accordance with the law.

But Tamir Hgage, 44, of Kfar Saba, one of the activists who received the summons, told The Jerusalem Post he had never broken any past law and always held lawful protests in the dozens of prior events he had organized.
“This was to scare me,” he said.

According to Hgage, officers arrived at his ex-wife’s home on Sunday and knocked on the door. When his 17-yearold daughter answered and found policemen, she became frightened and called her father.

“I told her to give them my number. A few minutes later, an officer called me and asked me to come in for questioning.

I asked him why. He said, ‘You’re a social justice movement leader. We want to know your plans,’” recounted the activist.

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“Why do I have to give them my plans?” he continued. “I have no criminal record; I’ve never been arrested. Police have no right to frighten my daughter.”

Hgage said he had recently obtained approval from the Tel Aviv Municipality to set up a social justice protest tent at Rabin Square, where he planned to hold a press conference on July 1. “Apparently this frightened people,” he said.

Still, he plans obey the police’s request and arrive at the Kfar Saba police station. “I’m a law-abiding citizen. When police summon me, I come,” he said.

He predicted a busy summer of social justice rallies, adding, “The middle classes are worn out. I invite anyone who cares about their parents and children to Rabin Square on July 1, when we are going to make some very focused demands.”

High-profile activist Yonatan Halevi said recent months had seen a large increase in the number of arrests during small social justice events, and spoke of “a turn for the worse” in police treatment.

But police said those past arrests had been at illegal rallies, with activists blocking traffic in certain cases.

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