Activists with the group Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity said the municipality tried to shut down a bar to disperse a demonstration against Mayor Nir Barkat, over what they say is his support for Jews moving into predominantly Arab areas of East Jerusalem. The group opposes efforts by Jews to move into the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
On Thursday, activists said, several left-wing members of the organization spotted Barkat arriving at the Cavalier restaurant downtown. They organized a spontaneous demonstration against demolition work last week at the Shepherd Hotel in Sheikh Jarrah, where new housing is expected to be built for Jews. Jewish residents have moved into the neighborhood, however, on the authority of court rulings, not city orders.
After congregating on the sidewalk near the Cavalier restaurant, they proceeded to the Hasira pub across the street, with most sitting at outside tables, apparently to see when the mayor left the restaurant. Police asked demonstrators to leave the pub, at which point inspectors were sent to shut it down, according to one demonstrator, Daniel Argo.
The demonstrators said the inspectors looked for technical legal violations as a basis for closing the bar, but having found none, asked its customers to leave their outside tables and come inside at least while the mayor was still dining across the way.
The Jerusalem Municipality said the incident was handled by members of the national Israel Police and not by municipal inspectors.
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