KIRYAT SHEMONE- Drivers at the Kiryat Shemone Tours bus company were supposed to spend Monday driving protesters to the anti-disengagement rally in Netivot.
Instead, they found themselves in the interrogation rooms at the local police station.
Owner Victor Hajij told Ynet, “the officers said they had the authority to detain them.”
More than half the 600 buses ordered by the Yesha Council were prevented from setting out for the protest.
Tel Aviv or bust
Hajij said Yesha Council leaders called after police prevented buses from moving and told him to have drivers bring protesters to Tel Aviv.
“Now I’ve got a problem,” he said. “If they go, they will go over the number of hours the are allowed to work. If they do that, they’ll pull my buses off the roads.”
He also said Council members threatened not to pay if buses didn’t take protesters somewhere.
“Look where this whole thing has gotten us,” he said.
Coffee with the cops
Drivers who were investigated said police acted well towards them, and said they were even invited to drink coffee with the station commander.
Police told drivers they had the authority to detain them out of suspicion they might commit a crime, namely violating a police ban by taking marchers to the march.
Tel Aviv drivers also questioned
Drivers at the Shasha Tours company were supposed to bring protesters from the Tel Aviv area, but were instead detained by police.
Shasha Tours assistant director, Yitzhak Minyan, said, “We received direct instructions from the police not to send buses to the protest area.
"Police warned us about taking part in the protest, and told us they would impose ‘sanctions’ on us if drivers went to Netivot.
“We are in no position to challenge the cops," he said. "We lost a lot of money on the canceled work."
Police spokesmen said the police were authorized to stop the buses in order to prevent a crime.