Thousands hit Tel Aviv streets to mark anniversary of 2011 social justice protests

Danino: It was a mistake to arrest protest leader Leef last year.

July 13, 2013 22:29
2 minute read.
Social justice protesters in Tel Aviv carry sign reading "Bibi + Lapid = Morsi", July 13, 2013

Social justice protest Tel Aviv 370. (photo credit: Ben Hartman)

Thousands of demonstrators hit the streets of Tel Aviv on Saturday evening to mark the two year anniversary of the large social justice protests that took place in the city and across the country in 2011.

The demonstration began from Habima Square at 8 p.m. and proceeded to Kaplan Street where an all night vigil was to be held until Sunday morning, the precise anniversary of the 2011 protests.

Social justice demonstrators march in central Tel Aviv, July 13, 2013 (Ben Hartman)

As of ten o'clock on Saturday evening some three thousand people were taking part in the protest.

A parallel demonstration in the Hatikva neighborhood in Tel Aviv was set to take place to remember Moshe Silman, the man who set himself on fire at a protest last year, according to the report. Before lighting himself ablaze, Silman said he received no rent assistance despite suffering a stroke recently and no longer being able to work at all.

Street closures were expected in Tel Aviv on Saturday evening due to the protest.

Social justice movement leader Daphni Leef said on Saturday evening that the public was collapsing under economic stress and that it could not be predicted what outcome these pressures would have on society.

Leef was speaking on a Channel 10 news show in advance of the demonstrations. She called on the public to join the Tel Aviv protest. 

Israel Police chief Insp.-Gen. Yochanan Danino said Saturday that it had been "a mistake" to arrest Leef in a highly publicized incident during a demonstration on Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard in July of last year.

Videos of the arrest posted online showed Leef lying on her back on the concrete as several police hold her down before dragging her to a van.

Speaking in a Channel 2 interview, Danino stated Saturday, "We secure hundreds of events and allow everyone to protest with full freedom of expression and in the end they take one arrest and use it to trample the entire police force."

A central website of the social protest movement j14 declared on Saturday that the struggle continued and that Israel was "...light years away from the ideal utopian society that Herzl, the state's visionary, wrote about in his treatise Alteneueland." 

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