Protester: 'If he had used a little more force - I would have suffocated'

"I saw a 40-year-old woman who was thrown to the floor and punched. I tried to stop them and then the border policemen dragged me away on the floor."

Israeli police officers scuffle with demonstrators during a protest against Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside Prime Minister official residence in Jerusalem on July 14, 2020 (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
Israeli police officers scuffle with demonstrators during a protest against Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside Prime Minister official residence in Jerusalem on July 14, 2020
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
After a relatively peaceful beginning, Tuesday evening's protests escalated into violent clashes between police and protesters late into the night in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence on Balfour Street in Jerusalem.
Israel Police has been criticized recently after several videos on social media circulated of officers using excessive force when clearing and arresting protesters at the nightly demonstrations there. 
One such protester, 28-year-old Ori Yerushalmi from Tel Aviv, was seen being violently arrested by border policemen as one of them held his knee to Yerushalmi's face in a video which circulated widely on social media.

In an interview with Channel 12 News, Yerushalmi said: "I was also at the previous demonstrations and this was the first time I stayed until the end and experienced the police violence. The policemen stood in a chain and were instructed to fend off protesters and trample them. I saw a 40-year-old woman who was thrown to the floor and punched. I tried to stop them and then the border policemen dragged me away on the floor."
"After the border policeman put his leg on my neck, I was dragged across the checkpoint and left the demonstration. I admit, I was scared. I felt a heavy pressure on my neck and I was not able to move. If he had used a little more force - I would have suffocated," he told Channel 12 News.
Yerushalmi was arrested around 1 a.m., two hours after the curfew issued by the Jerusalem Police had taken effect.
When asked why he stayed at the protest after the curfew, Yerushalmi said that, "if we leave when the police tell us to stop, these demonstrations will not be valid; it would mean it probably was not important enough to us. The amount of force used there against demonstrators was not legitimate. I saw policemen there just waiting for the green light to disperse the demonstration by force."
Yerushalmi claimed that the use of force was not effective in deterring protesters, saying that "this event will not deter me from attending demonstrations. I see where this country is going and I do not like it. Israel is becoming a dictatorial state and if we do not demonstrate, police violence will only get worse and go to more dangerous places."