A serious and unusual warning has been issued by the State in light of a planned right-wing protest in the heart of an Arab town. The State Prosecutor's Office asserted on Wednesday that there was real concern that the right-wing protest planned to take place in the northern town of Umm al-Fahm would spin out of control and may even end in deaths.
On this backdrop, the State Prosecution suggested that the protest be held at the entrance to the city, thus striking a balance between freedom of expression and maintain public order and safety.
In response to the High Court's ruling on the matter, the State Prosecution asked that the court reject the request submitted by Knesset Member Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) and extreme rightists Itamar Ben-Gvir and Baruch Marzel to hold a protest in the city in front of the home of Raed Salah, head of northern branch of the Islamic Movement, and in front of the movement's headquarters.
In its response, the State Prosecution claimed that holding the demonstration is liable to upset public order and safety and that there is a significant concern that events could spiral out of control, escalating to such an extent that police forces will not be able to contain the situation.
"According to police and Shin Bet estimates, there is real concern on the level of near certainty that holding the demonstration of right-wing activists in the requested locations in Umm al-Fahm will result in real damage to life and limb," wrote the State Prosecution, adding that the request is based on professional assessments by the police and Shin Bet and past experience.
The State Prosecution emphasized that the request is not based merely on a general concern for safety, stressing that past experience indicates that police concerns are not abstractly arrived at, but are firmly rooted and veritable.
In its request, the State Prosecution noted that a rightist procession held in the city a year and a half ago led to disturbances and clashes that included stone throwing, despite police preparation ahead of time.
The request noted another disturbance that took place in Umm al-Fahm when MK Arieh Eldad entered the city in order to serve as ballot chairman, sparking serious disturbances throughout the area.
The State Prosecution added that an alternative was offered to the demonstrators to hold the protest in front of the jail in which Salah is currently serving a sentence for assaulting a policeman.
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