Student strike continues after TA protest

At least 3 lightly hurt in fights with police during demo; seven arrested.

jp.services2 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
The student strike at universities and colleges throughout the country continued on Thursday, marking more than two weeks of protest against the proposed reforms of the Shochat Committee. On Wednesday night, violent confrontations broke out between students and police during a massive demonstration in Tel Aviv, after students closed off streets. Three people were lightly injured, including a policeman and Student Union Chairman Itai Shonshine, and were taken to Tel Aviv's Ichilov hospital for treatment. Seven of the protesters were arrested. Six of the students were later released on bail Thursday, and another student suspected of rioting and participating in an illegal gathering will be brought to the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court, where police will request he be released on parole. Yarkon District Police head Lt.-Cmdr. Hagai Dotan told Army Radio in an interview Thursday morning that "we tried to reach an understanding with the students so the protest would end quietly, but they just lost control." He added that "the police are always in the middle and try to balance between the right to protest and the value of public order in Tel Aviv to move freely through the streets. This is our responsibility." The police commander noted that "[the students] not only admit that they lost control, but some of them told us that if there hadn't been fighting with police, the press wouldn't have paid attention to [the event]." Thousands of students took part in the Tel Aviv rally, as did a number of artists and public figures, who signed a petition calling on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to get involved personally. A number of the artists, including Becky Griffin, singer Aviv Geffen and rapper Subliminal, showed their support by holding performances at the event. Former education minister Yossi Sarid also spoke at the event, urging students to up the ante. "Only if [students] increase [the struggle] can there be a chance to effect change, because their ears are closed," he said. "If we don't scream loudly enough, they don't hear anything." Meanwhile, high school teachers resumed their strike on Thursday morning, as well, in protest of delays in salary and pension agreements. As a result, schools in the North and South were not holding classes.