Sderot protests held in Tel Aviv, J'lem

Activists block Ayalon, other main arteries in march to Defense Ministry, call on PM to resign.

sderot ayalon protest 22 (photo credit: AP)
sderot ayalon protest 22
(photo credit: AP)
Sderot residents held demonstrations in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem throughout the day Monday, in protest of government policy in the Gaza Strip and continued rocket attacks on the city. Several hundred activists blocked the northbound Ayalon Highway for nearly an hour in the morning, and later held up traffic in other main arteries of city in a protest parade to the Defense Ministry's offices in the Kiryah, the seat of the IDF General Staff. Demonstrators sounded mock 'Color Red' alerts and called on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to resign in light of their failure to stop the rocket fire. In the evening, protestors returned to Jerusalem where they continued to demonstrate near the Supreme Court. Protest organizer Batya Katar said that the demonstration's goal was to call for a large-scale IDF operation against terror infrastructure in the Gaza Strip that would secure the safety of residents of Sderot and other Gaza-belt communities. "Israel needs to return [our] security and go into Gaza. We have to prevent Hamas and Islamic Jihad from expanding," Katar said. Katar added that many people in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem - the site of a protest earlier Monday - had expressed their support for the Sderot activists and promised to help. "I call on all the country's citizens to take part. Kassams have already gone past Sderot. Today, it's Sderot and Ashkelon. Tomorrow, it's Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. If we don't wake up now, it will be too late," she stressed. "Everyone here, young and old, is traumatized," Binyamin Bracha, chairman of the Echpat organization, told Walla! News. "[Sderot] residents are waiting for the people's support. As soon as [people] in Jerusalem told us 'good job,' it was like a shot of energy." Alon Davidi, head of the informal Department for Sderot Security, said that Jerusalem residents were sympathetic to the plight of Sderot residents despite the disruptions and congested roads felt in the capital, and added that he believed his people would be similarly supported by Tel Aviv's residents. On Sunday, activists protested in Jerusalem in front of the Prime Minister's Office and the Supreme Court, residents of the rocket-battered town played the Color Red alert on loudspeakers outside the Supreme Court, blocked the city's main entrance, and called for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's resignation in front of his Jerusalem office.