Lapid: Blood of beaten protesters in Tel Aviv on Netanyahu's hands

Far-right activists, reported to be affiliated with "La Familia" gang violently attacked protesters who had gathered to protest police brutality.

Protest against Public Security Minister Amir Ohana (Credit: Udi Shaham)
Pro-Likud far-right activists, reported to have been affiliated with the "La Familia" gang violently attacked protesters who had gathered Tuesday evening to protest against police brutality and Public Security Minister Amir Ohana's attempts to prevent protests from taking place outside the Prime Minister's Official Residence in Jerusalem.  

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid said Wednesday morning that the blood spilled at the protest was on the hands of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 
"The violence and blood spilled yesterday in Tel Aviv is on the hands of Bibi and his emissaries," Lapid, chairman of Yesh Atid-Telem said. "Whoever sows incitement will receive blood. Calling protesters to spread disease, and inciting against civilians protesting, is leading Israel into a civil war. We are on the eve of the 9th of Av and our problem is that one of the greatest haters in Israel is sitting in the Prime Minister's Office."
Defense Minister Benny Gantz called on the police to act swiftly to apprehend the attackers. "Divisive hatred has crumbled and continues to crumble the people of Israel, whose true strength is in its unity," Gantz said Wednesday morning. "The attackers of yesterday's demonstrators must be caught and punished. No one will silence protests in Israel as long as we are here."

 
Channel 13 reported Wednesday morning that the police plans to deploy its most elite forces - like the Yamam counter-terrorism unit - to protect demonstrators at future protests.  
The protest was organized by the Black Flag movement, whose members chose Ohana's residence in Tel Aviv as the location for the protest.  

As the protest progressed into the night, some of the protesters started marching toward the Azrieli intersection, which led police to blocking it and dispersing protesters. 
Some signs carried by protesters read "Ohana - We have the right to protest!" and "I won't stay silent as my country changes."
At one point, a gang of far-right activists ran through the crowd, shoving some of the demonstrators, punching and kicking some, throwing chairs and spraying pepper spray at them. The demonstrators said that some of the attackers were carrying bats and glass bottles which they used to attack them. 
 
Despite the violence, police did not arrest any of the attackers. Instead, the one arrest was of a demonstrator from the Black Flags group. 

Oz, an eyewitness at the scene, said to N12 that "I was there and I saw the group slowly approaching us. They wore black bandanas, and I knew something was about to happen. We were subjected to violence. I ran after them, yelled at them and asked police for help, but they did not budge. It's dangerous to be a protester in Israel." 

Tuesday night's protest came after a recording leaked last week in which Ohana apparently hinted to interim police commissioner Moti Cohen that the police were not acting strongly enough against the anti-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demonstrations in Jerusalem, asking if ultra-Orthodox, Ethiopian, or Arab protesters would have received as easy treatment as those against Netanyahu. 
Ohana has since claimed that he did not try to ban the protest, but rather to have it moved to another site in Israel’s capital city.
 
After the demonstrators have been dispersed, four were arrested for alleged assault and disturbance of public order. In addition, the Black Flag movement organizers stated that four demonstrators were hospitalized to due injuries inflicted during tonight's protest.  

 
Jeremy Sharon, Cody Levine and Leon Sverdlov contributed to this article.