Clashes broke out between protestors, many of whom were youngsters, and police during yet another demonstration in the Geula area against selling smartphones with internet connection.
Authorities attempted to facilitate a peaceful protest, but “at a certain stage, the protestors began to riot,” according to a police statement that blamed “extremists” for the violence.
The rioters also tried to damage the store. Police alleged that in addition to interfering with traffic and throwing objects at passing buses, the parents of the demonstrators’ children “cynically used them on the front line.”
Police said that after being told to disperse, the demonstrators threw a plastic bottle and yelled insults at the police officers as they cleared the area.
The Israel Police said in a statement that it will “continue to enable freedom of protest within the bounds of the law” but that it “will not allow damage, violent riots or any attempt to hurt business owners, people or policemen.”
The most recent demonstration was in a string of protests organized close to cellphone outlets in Geula to stop the owners from offering more modern phones to local clients.
Following a similar protest on Sunday, Itamar Ben Gvir, the national security minister, who has oversight over the police, gave Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai the go-ahead to look into footage that looked to show demonstrators being handled roughly.
The treatment of left-wing protestors in Tel Aviv, according to Ben Gvir, differs from that of right-wing protesters, and he has pressured police on this issue.
A senior police official denied any double standard, telling Channel 12 news that police in Jerusalem sometimes use more heavy-handed tactics due to the more combative nature of protests there as opposed to Tel Aviv, where organizers typically agree with police blocking roads for a short period before dispersing.
Massive anti-government protests on Saturday night passed without any significant incidents.
In contrast to Tel Aviv, where protest organizers typically agree to temporarily block highways before dispersing, Jerusalem police occasionally employ more strenuous measures owing to the more aggressive nature of protests there, according to a senior police official who rejected any double standards.
Large-scale anti-government demonstrations on Saturday evening ended without any significant incidents.
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) January 16, 2023