Police assessing response to social justice unrest

Critics say heavy-handed response to Tel Aviv, J'lem protests exacerbated situation, that officers were unprepared.

Social justice protest against police violence in TA 370 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Social justice protest against police violence in TA 370
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Police have launched an assessment of their controversial response to the social justice rally, which ended in major unrest and violent clashes over the weekend in Tel Aviv.
Tel Aviv district police have come under fire by protesters and their supporters, who said that the rally was met with a heavy-handed response, and that officers were unprepared for the event.
Police arrested 85 people on Saturday night after activists blocked roads and damaged bank storefronts.
The assessment into the police’s response is being held by both Tel Aviv police district, and national police headquarters in Jerusalem. A spokesman from Tel Aviv police confirmed that an evaluation of the police’s response was under way, adding that “like in all inquiries, we are seeking to learn lessons.”
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld added, “One of the things we’re looking at is how one event can lead to another developing event.”
Rosenfeld referred to a small gay and lesbian rally held in Tel Aviv on Friday, which was quickly joined by hundreds of social justice protesters, and ended in clashes with police, a development which set the stage for Saturday’s disturbances.
“We will have to see how next time we will coordinate with social justice leaders to contain events,” he added.
Police are also concerned about the possibility that one major social justice event can cause a “ripple effect” in other districts, Rosenfeld added. District chiefs are planning to communicate and coordinate with one another to ensure that police are ready for such a scenario.
“If there are claims that more force was used than necessary, that should be looked at by the Police Investigations Department,” Rosenfeld added.
“We know clearly from the scene that the situation was provoked, that protesters blocked roads, and that damage was caused to windows.
The police immediately responded, to prevent looting,” he said.