Police arrest 23 left-wing protesters

Demonstrators gather outside IDF commander's home in Zichron Yaakov to protest Ni'lin deaths.

nilin funeral 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
nilin funeral 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Police arrested 23 left-wing demonstrators on Monday who had congregated outside the home of Col. Aviv Reshef, the IDF commander in charge of the West Bank village of Ni'lin. The village has been the scene of recent violent clashes between Border Police and demonstrators protesting against the West Bank security fence. An 11-year-old boy and an 18-year-old man were killed in two separate incidents in the village last week, and police have since launched an investigation to determine how the boy was killed after a Border Police spokesman reported that live ammunition had been used in violation of the rules of engagement. Around 40 protesters gathered outside Reshef's Zichron Ya'acov home carrying signs with banners against the security fence and calling for Border Police officers to stand trial for the killings. The protesters said they had been forced to hold the protest in Zichron Yaakov, as they were barred from doing so in Ni'lin. Those arrested were questioned at Zichron Ya'acov's police station and will be kept in custody overnight, police said, adding that they would be brought before a court to have their custody extended. Police said the arrests were made after demonstrators had ignored calls to disperse, adding that no permit had been sought for the demonstration. A number of confrontations erupted as the arrests were carried out. Jonathan Pollak of Anarchists Against the Wall, the Israeli group involved in protesting the security barrier, said it was his understanding that since there were less than 50 people at the demonstration no permit was needed. He added that protesters at the demonstration had told him at the time of the arrests that they were standing on the side walk. He alleged that the police beat some of them once they were already in custody. Police added that officers had been instructed to break up the demonstration due to the ruling of Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz that political protests could not be held in the vicinity of high-ranking IDF officers. Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.