Police remove anti-Netanyahu protest tent; ex-Shabak chief injured

Former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Carmi Gillon was handcuffed and carried away by policemen. Gillon was reportedly injured by police when he was dragged away from the protest tent.

Carmi Gillon, former head of the Shin Bet, arrested during Balfour protests, August 20, 2020. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Carmi Gillon, former head of the Shin Bet, arrested during Balfour protests, August 20, 2020.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Israel Police evacuated protesters who are opposed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from the Paris Square outside his official residence on Thursday ahead of a planned protest by right-wing activists at the same spot this evening.
The protests tent evacuated at the corner of Balfour Street has been there for several months and demonstrations are held at the spot weekly and attended by thousands of people, opposed to the government's management of the coronavirus crisis.
Former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Carmi Gillon was handcuffed and carried away by policemen. Gillon was reportedly injured by police when he was dragged away from the protest tent. 
Gilon made his way to Balfour in support of Netanyahu's critics, saying that he is willing to get arrested for his right to demonstrate against the prime minister.
"It is inconceivable that the right of one group to protest will be favored over the right of the other," Gilon said. "That's why I came here to support them."
Police evacuates anti-Netanyahu protesters from Balfour, August 20, 2020. Police evacuates anti-Netanyahu protesters from Balfour, August 20, 2020.
Police announced on Thursday that it has begun preparations ahead of the two protests: one opposing and the other supporting Netanyahu.
The two protests are planned to take place in front of Netanyahu's official residence on Balfour Street in Jerusalem on opposite sides of the street, with police forces separating between the two warring groups.
However, on this occasion, the two protests will switch places, with the pro-Netanyahu protesters achieving the right to protest in Paris Square.
According to assessments, some 3,000 Netanyahu supporters will arrive by buses. In past anti-Netanyahu protests, tens of thousands came from across the country, not only to protest the economic crisis, but also calling for Netanyahu to resign following his indictment for fraud, bribery and breach of trust.
Police evacuates anti-Netanyahu protesters from Balfour, August 20, 2020. Police evacuates anti-Netanyahu protesters from Balfour, August 20, 2020.
Some Netanyahu supporters announced on various social media networks that they plan to perform the priestly Kohanim Prayer, as well as a mass Shema Yisrael (Hear, O Israel) prayer.
Regardless of their political affinity, all protesters are obliged to reduce noise levels starting from 9:30 p.m. and end the protest by 11:00 p.m. following a High Court of Justice decision.
The police announced that whoever plans to disobey these instructions will be apprehended by local forces that will deploy in Paris Square, Aza Street and Ben Maimon Street, as well as in adjacent areas.
Police evacuates anti-Netanyahu protesters from Balfour, August 20, 2020. Police evacuates anti-Netanyahu protesters from Balfour, August 20, 2020.
But confrontations began even earlier. As police started evacuating anti-Netanyahu protesters from the Paris Square on Thursday afternoon, ahead of the protests planned to take place later during the day, confrontations broke out between police and protesters who refused to evacuate the area.
Police forces attempted to arrest MK Yorai Lahav (Yesh Atid), ignoring the fact that as a Member of Knesset he has immunity and cannot be arrested according to the law. 
A video of the incident clearly shows Lahav trying to explain to the officers that he is an MK, while people surrounding him also plead with officers, who ignore them.

Lahav said after the incident that he doesn't blame the police, despite the violence, The Jerusalem Post's sister publication Maariv reported.
"My anger is directed towards our failed prime minister who created this bizarre situation and has pushed thousands to the streets because of the difficult situation," Lahav told Maariv. "The right to protest is a sacred democratic right, and we must protect it with great ferocity."

MK Moshe Ya'alon also visited the site of the protests on Balfour Street on Thursday and criticized Netanyahu while calling for more protesters to join.
"The minister for Netanyahu's security is forcefully using the police against a just protests, while doing everything in his power to suppress them... The protests on Balfour and across the country are just, legal and democratic," Ya’alon said.
"No one will prevent the protests from taking place. On the contrary - they will only get bigger. The defendant is concerned over these protests because he understands their power and the influence they have over time. That's why I'm here, today as well, to support you. That's why I'm here to call on as many citizens as possible who know that Netanyahu only cares about Netanyahu- to come join!"
Opposition Leader Yair Lapid also adressed the situation of anti-Netanyahu protesters being evacuated by police on Thursday.
"It starts with the unreasonable evacuation of protesters and continues to the forceful evacuation of a member of Knesset, a former head of the Shin Bet and former Maj.-Gen. Amir Haskel ... We're fighting for our democracy," Lapid said.
Maariv contributed to this report.