Sheikh Jarrah protest (archives)
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Drori: Police must allow marches, rallies
Photo: Court website
The Jerusalem District Court rejected an appeal by police Wednesday regarding its decision to release without conditions protesters belonging to the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement, who were arrested demonstrating in front of city hall.
The four protesters were arrested Monday for demonstrating against the approval of 16 new Jewish homes in the east Jerusalem neighborhood.
Judge Moshe Drori criticized police for their behavior towards the protesters, saying that its policies did not match the orders of the law. In its previous decision, the court ruled that there was no call for the arrests as the protest had not been violent and demonstrators were not disturbing the peace.
In their appeal, representatives of the police claimed the protest was illegal and that riots had broken out. But the attorney representing the protesters, Leah Tzemel, said her clients had not needed a permit because there had been fewer than 50 people present.
Judge Drori accepted the claim, criticizing the police for the lack of legal knowledge it displayed in the appeal. "The solidarity movement can continue to protest uninterrupted while police, after internalizing this decision, will help them to protest whenever they wish," he wrote in the verdict.
"When a permit is needed police will consider it positively and allow rallies and marches as well."
The movement issued a statement in response to the verdict, saying it was "unfortunate that Israel Police would insist upon shaming itself in court once again, in an attempt to suppress legitimate political activities".
"It is even more unfortunate because in doing so, the police are wasting public funds and placing a needless burden on the courts. In order to help, we volunteer to provide the police with Social Studies classes free of charge."
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