Hundreds of protesters kicked off Tuesday’s Day of Resistance bright and early at Hemed Interchange, where the air was filled with the sounds of horns and sirens and the scents of smoke bombs and water cannons.
“Today's first reading in the plenum passing, the coup d'etat, the 11th of July will all live in infamy,” said Yoav Lotem, a protest attendee based in Jerusalem who took a day off from work to demonstrate.
Around the country, Israelis of all ages took off from school and work to attend protests. At Hemed, just outside Jerusalem, the group met at the overpass around 7 a.m. but eventually descended rocky terrain to access the interchange. Once there, they began to block traffic on the busy highway.
Protesters significantly slowed traffic, attracting honks from passersby of all political leanings. Some supportive drivers matched the rhythm of the protesters’ noisemakers with their car horns, adding to the noise. Those disapproving slammed on their horns to drown out the protest’s sounds, some showing demonstrators thumbs down.
Some demonstrators sat on the road, indicating to police and drivers that they had no intention of moving. Some protesters threw smoke bombs that omitted a vibrant orange ephemera. Others donned flares. Whatever the method, protesters had the intention of visibility.
One video shows a clash between several police officers and a flare-wielding protester. It appeared that police were attempting to seize the flare from the demonstrator.
At around 8:20 a.m., an armored police vehicle began spraying protesters with water cannons equipped with dye and scent. Those sprayed subsequently sported bright blue clothes, dyed skin, and a putrid smell.
Protestors clash with police, refusing to follow orders
Protesters and police clashed when protesters refused to follow police orders of staying out of certain parts of the road. One video shows police forcefully removing a woman from her seat on the blacktop.
Another shows at least five police officers attempting to move a man sitting on the road. When he finally stood up, the police left him alone. Similar incidents occured with other protesters.
The police showed determination to keep order and allow traffic to continue, setting up a boundary line between the protesters and traffic, pushing whoever crossed the line back into the crowd of demonstrators.
At least one arrest was made at the scene. There was also one incident in which an ambulance stopped in the crowd, picking up one individual.
“I've come to the realization that, today… we've reached a crisis point,” Lotem went on to say. “Most people don't understand what a red line is, and that red line was utterly crossed today.”
“The 2nd and 3rd Plenum reading will not pass,” he said assuredly. “We will March on the streets even more.”