To protest is a sacred democratic right; to riot is not. Both the demonstrators and police should keep that truth in mind during this summer of angst, anxiety and near-nightly protests.Opposition leader Yair Lapid tweeted it well, after a demonstration near the Prime Minister’s official residence on Balfour Street Tuesday turned into a riot in central Jerusalem: “The Balfour demonstration is right and just but nothing justifies violence against police and journalists. Protest, yes. Violence, no. We have no other country, we have no other police.” Tuesday evening’s demonstration – just the latest in a string of protests breaking out all across the country – started peacefully, but ended with eggs and bottles being thrown at police, attacks on journalists with protesters trying to grab the microphones out of their hands, blocking light-rail traffic being blocked, and businesses being vandalized in the center of the capital.The message of those protesting – that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cannot remain in power while he is under investigation for breaking the law – is diluted when the protesters themselves break the law during their protests. Protesters demonstrating against Netanyahu for undermining the justice system are not helping their arguments by throwing eggs and bottles at the foot soldiers of that legal system.But there is more to this season of protests than just anger at Netanyahu for remaining in power while on trial for bribery charges. Tuesday evening’s protest might have been against Netanyahu, but Monday evening’s protests in haredi neighborhoods of Jerusalem, as well as the 10,000-strong demonstration in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on Saturday night were not.The haredim were protesting what they view as the heavy-handed tactics the state has been using in clamping down closures on ultra-Orthodox communities hit badly by corona, and the Saturday night demonstration was a reflection of the financial pain and insecurity felt by many who have lost businesses and livelihoods to COVID-19.Jerusalem Police Chief Doron Yedid tried to dismiss Tuesday night’s demonstration as just a bunch of rabble-rousing leftists, regretfully saying as much on camera just before an interview. This badly misses the point.First, even rabble-rousing leftists, in a democratic country, have the right to protest, as do rabble-rousing rightists. But, as one woman and man screamed at Yedid when they heard his words: “Not just leftists – there were Likudniks here. We are the people.”Second, the political identification of the protesters is inconsequential. In a democratic country, everyone has the right to demonstrate. Today it is “leftists,” tomorrow “rightists.” Today those who want to bring down Netanyahu, tomorrow those who will want to bring down Lapid. Today settlers, tomorrow Peace Now. Today Ethiopian immigrants, tomorrow the handicapped.They all have the right to protest, but they don’t all have the right to break the law, to disrupt traffic, to vandalize, or to be violent – regardless of the justice of their cause.And the Police need to be careful. They need to give permits for protests so people can let off steam. Corona must not be used as an excuse to curb the legitimate right to protest. And if the protesters then violate the conditions of the demonstration, the police need to act – within reason.There is no gentle way to break up a gathering of angry people blocking traffic, but gratuitous force need not be applied. Use what measures need to be used to preserve public order, but nothing more.For instance, the police should be commended for not taking out their batons against the protesters Tuesday evening, but condemned when officers go overboard in their use of physical force to clear streets of illegal protests, be it in Tel Aviv, Mea She’arim, Yitzhar or Um al-Fahm. Incidents of police brutality against individual protesters need to be dealt with stringently.The bottom line is that no one here is the enemy: not the protesters, not the journalists, not the police.As Lapid wrote: We have no other country.