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Buring tires. Sakharov Gardens
Photo: Gil Yohanan
El Al Junction blocked off
Photo: Yair Altman
Attempted to stop the train
Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
Settler protest stirs havoc nationwide
Settlers block Highway 1 by torching tires, later cleared by police. Twenty women blocking El Al junction arrested. Protess also held in Hebron, Ramallah. Police commissioner says will fully back officers who responded to riots

A rightist ‘day of rage’ aimed at protesting a violent outpost demolition earlier this week caused mayhem at several sites across Israel Thursday.

 

Earlier in the evening, a group of settlers tried to block the entrance to Jerusalem at the Sakharov Gardens junction. The protesters torched tires at the site, engulfing the area in smoke. Police forces at the scene cleared the tires and prevented the settlers from stopping traffic.

 

Later Thursday, demonstrators rallying near Ben-Gurion Airport blocked the El Al junction as part of their protest against police violence during the razing of Havat Gilad earlier this week. About 30 young women carried signs reading: "They shoot in Havat Gilad, we stop the State" and "The war is with the Arabs."

 

Police forces were dispatched to the scene and arrested 20 protesters.

 

Meanwhile, some 40 people held a protest at an intersection in Samaria, and some 80 other right-wingers blocked the entrance to a local village near the West Bank town of Hebron. The entrance to Ramallah from Beit El was also blocked by the protestors at some point. 


 

Protestes support soldier whose house was destroyed (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

 

Also Thursday, police arrested 15 protesters who tried to stop traffic at the Shilat Junction while shouting: "A Jew doesn't deport a Jew." They were dragged off the road by police and later questioned. A few tried to escape and run back to the road.

 

"We are here because Jewish houses are being demolished and Jews are being shot," a protester said.

 

Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen said: "The officers have full support to implement police policy, uncompromising policy, towards rioters. We'll only allow legitimate and legal demonstrations and rallies."

 

Police forces, including undercover officers, were deployed around the country to prevent the blocking of roads by protesters.


El Al junction blocked (Photo: Yair Altman)

 

The activists promised to continue to disrupt traffic. "We're protesting against the expulsion of Jews from their homes using plastic bullets. It's a declaration of war," Aharon Rabin, a former Havat Gilad resident, told Ynet.

 

"Our goal isn't to endanger the passengers but to wake the public up and tell them what is going on in places they don't really pay attention to. Today we fight for our homes - tomorrow we fight for their homes. Our actions won't stop here, they'll just continue to grow," he said. 


Settlers refuse to leave El Al junction (Photo: Yair Altman) 

 

Protesters said another big rally was to take place at Mercaz HaRav, a national-religious yeshiva in Jerusalem, where activists plan to gather following a memorial ceremony for the victims of a terrorist attack that took place there in 2008.

 

Protestors try to stop train  

Addressing the broad protest, right-wing activist Itamar Ben-Gvir said: "It's a fight for civil rights and justice. When policemen shoot at innocent civilians, it's legitimate to hold a raging protest. The blame for the blocking of roads is on Bibi and (Internal Security Minister Yitzhak) Aharonovitch."

 

The events began around 7:30 am on Thusrday. Some 15 right-wing activists blocked the road connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv as part of a nationwide "day of rage," organized to protest the demolition of illegal structures at the illegal Havat Gilad outpost in the West Bank.

 

The activists also attempted to disrupt train traffic. Several rightist protestors stood on the train tracks leading from Modi'in to Ben-Gurion Airport. They stepped off the tracks just before the train arrived.

 

In a separate incident, tires were set on fire in the entrance to Jerusalem at around 7 am, in what security officials estimate was another protest linked to the "day of rage." The tires were cleared by police officers. The perpetrators were not caught.

 

Boaz Fyler contributed to this report

 

 

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