Again: Police Lose Hold on Protest in Tel Aviv

About 1,000 Ethiopian Israelis have flooded Tel Aviv on Monday night, demonstrating from Rothschild Blvd. to Ibn Gavriol St. to protest racism and discrimination. 

"They say that there are rifts, they say there is no leadership – but each and every one of us has come here to make a change," protest organizer Inbal Bogula shouted during the rally. "Let's show the residents of Tel Aviv and the cops what noise we can make, we will walk here slowly so they can feel us, that each of us is a leader who came to make a change." 

Hundreds of police officers, some with riot gear and on horseback, have also flooded the area after violence tore through similar protests earlier this month. Police forces were concentrated in Rabin Square. 

However, while both protestors and police noted that the demonstrations were pre-coordinated and not meant to be violent, they have begun to spiral once again out of control, according to Yediot Aharonot

Despite the strict boundaries set by police, demonstrators have now begun walking in the middle of the road to Rabin Square, actively disrupting traffic and – in some cases – laying down in the middle of the street. 

Of the 1,000 original protestors, about 300 are at the center of the ruckus, according to the daily, and police have lost control over the event in the intervening hours. 

Earlier Monday night, some of the protestors attempted to block the Ayalon Highway once again, according to Channel 2, but were successfully deterred. 

What went wrong?

When protests began, both police and protestors affirmed to the media that the demonstration would keep to strict boundaries and not interrupt the commute. 

"This demonstration is planned and approved, subject to conditions that were set through dialogue and agreement with officials leading the protest and local authorities," a spokeswoman for the Tel Aviv District Police, Chief Superintendent Hila Hamo, said to Walla! News earlier Monday night. "The District Police's policy is to do everything possible in order to allow members of the Ethiopian community and their supporters to express their views freely. The police will be there to secure and protect the protesters, residents and the general public."

However, the spokeswoman added that in light of recent events, the police are prepared and equipped ahead of the possibility of violence. 

"Enforcement measures will be taken against wrongdoers immediately, with an emphasis on arrests and indictments in an accelerated procedure," Hamo warned. 

Several protestors noted to the news agency that they had no intent of becoming violent during the protest and that the demonstrations were more about keeping issues to the Ethiopian community in the public eye. 

Two Israel Police officers brutally beat Ethiopian soldier Damas Pakada in Holon earlier this month, sparking a series of mass protests in major Israeli cities. 

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/195569

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