שיירת רכבים יצאה הבוקר לכנסת ירושלים במחאה על הניסיונות לחיסול הדמוקרטיה הישראלית
A man is arrested at the protest outside the Knesset
Photo: Gil Yohanan
A man is arrested at the protest outside the Knesset

8 arrested at protest against suspension of Knesset activities

Convoy of cars drives on main Tel Aviv-Jerusalem artery, earning some participants fines for breaking directives against mass gatherings; Edelstein backs down in face of criticism, says key votes to take place next week

Gilad Cohen , Moran Azulay, Yuval Yanko, Yael Freidson |
Published: 03.19.20 , 15:15
At least eight people were arrested Thursday at a demonstration outside the Knesset in Jerusalem over the decision by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) to suspend parliamentary procedures earlier this week.
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  • Police say the demonstrators violated a Health Ministry directive against mass gatherings.
    שיירת רכבים יצאה הבוקר לכנסת ירושלים במחאה על הניסיונות לחיסול הדמוקרטיה הישראליתשיירת רכבים יצאה הבוקר לכנסת ירושלים במחאה על הניסיונות לחיסול הדמוקרטיה הישראלית
    A man is arrested at the protest outside the Knesset
    (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
    The protesters arrived at the Knesset in a convoy of cars on the main Route 1 highway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, which led to some of the organizers receiving fines for violating the ban on mass gatherings.
    שיירת רכבים יצאה הבוקר לירושלים במחאה על הניסיונות לחיסול הדמוקרטיה הישראלית. משטרת ישראל עוצרת את הנהגים ומחלקת קנסותשיירת רכבים יצאה הבוקר לירושלים במחאה על הניסיונות לחיסול הדמוקרטיה הישראלית. משטרת ישראל עוצרת את הנהגים ומחלקת קנסות
    The convoy of cars heading to Jerusalem in protest at the halt in parliamentary activity. The Hebrew reads: Democracy!
    (Photo: Gilad Cohen)
    Those who joined the protest "against attempts to destroy Israeli democracy," said in response that driving in separate cars did not breach the directives. Police also said that the convoy caused unnecessary delays for other motorists.
    Edelstein, who came under intense criticism for his decision to suspend a vote on filling Knesset committees key to fighting the coronavirus, said Thursday that that the vote would go ahead on Monday.
    The speaker was also rapped by Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon, who called for the vote to take place as soon as possible.
    The Knesset is subject to the same restrictions on more than 10 people as the rest of the country, and last week's swearing-in ceremony was conducted piecemeal, with the 120 Knesset members entering the plenum in groups of three to be sworn in.
    Edelstein has been accused of political machinations in favor of his party leader Benjamin Netanyahu, in order to thwart the efforts of his rival Prime Minister-elect Benny Gantz to form a government and bring in replacements for major Knesset positions, including his own speaker's chair.
    יולי אדלשטייןיולי אדלשטיין
    Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein
    (Photo: Knesset Channel)
    Every car in the convoy carried an Israeli flag and a black flag.
    "We have launched an event today that will continue in the coming weeks until Israeli democracy returns," the organizers said.
    "The closure of the courts, the entrenchment of the Knesset speaker in his post, paralysis of the Knesset committees and the start of spying on civilians without supervision are no longer warning signs," they said.
    "This is an attempt to destroy Israeli democracy. Attempts to eradicate democracy will not succeed, the State of Israel belongs to its citizens, not to a dictator in the making."
    Israel has suspended court appearances and introduced digital tracking used in terrorism cases as part of efforts to contain the spread of the virus. Netanyahu, who was due to go on trial this week for bribery, fraud and breach of trust, will now face the court in May.
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