Clashes broke out Sunday morning in the village of Musmus in the Wadi Ara region between residents and police forces during the demolition of an illegal structure.
Five women were lightly injured in the clashes and evacuated to hospital. "The dark forces used much force against us, as well as weapons," Musmus resident Dr. Masoud Agbaria said.
Police confirmed that they used crowd dispersal means, but denied acting forcefully.
Around 10 am, hundreds of police officers arrived at the village in order to assist Interior Ministry workers in the demolition of a house, according to a court order.
Teargas in Musmus (Photo: Courtesy of PLS48.net)
The police were prepared for the possibility of riots, but dozens of residents of the area, who were aware that the police forces would arrive, barricaded themselves inside the house and refused to leave.
Clashes broke out at the scene, and teargas and stun grenades were fired at the barricaders.
"We tried to prevent the demolition of the house, but when you are faced with weapons, you have no choice but to give up and leave," Agbaria said. "We did not use any force against them, but the police do not care about this – even when they are up against women and children, they were still very brutal and pushed everyone out."
Police preparing for demolition (Photo: Courtesy of PLS48.net)
The construction of the building in question was not complete, and a demolition order was issued against it some time ago. The Interior Ministry and the building's owners debated the issue, but after the home's owner failed to meet the requirements of the law, the demolition date was set for Sunday.
"Almost 90% of the houses in Musmus were built without a license, since the authorities don't give us licenses. I would like to tell the Interior Ministry and the police that what happened today is a tragedy for us all. You should know that you will continue to destroy – and we will build," Agbaria said.
After about one hour, the demolition was complete. Police spokesman Superintendent Doron Malka said, "During the demolition some 50 of the area's residents threw stones at forces acting at the site. The demolition was completed."
Meanwhile, the five women injured in the clashes suffered from headaches and light scrapes and bruises, and were taken to Haemek Medical Center in Afula for treatment.