Hundreds blocked traffic and clashed with police outside the army headquarters in Tel Aviv while protesting the manslaughter conviction of Elor Azaria, an Israeli soldier who shot a wounded Palestinian assailant in Hebron in March.
Protesters gathered outside the building while the head of the three-judge panel read the court's decision inside, prior to announcing the verdict.
Dozens blocked the nearby Ayalon Highway and confronted police, who tried to prevent the obstruction of traffic. Some protesters tried to hit police officers. Two were arrested for disturbing the peace. "We will turn the state upside down," several shouted.
The police managed to herd the demonstrators away from the highway and into the nearby Sarona outdoor shopping complex, but the highway is still closed to traffic.
Elor Azaria verdict
"Azaria was born free" and "'the people of Israel support and salute this hero," protesters chanted outside the military courtroom as Azaria faced his verdict.
Earlier the demonstrators broke through the barriers that the police erected in order to block the Hashalom entrance and exit of the Ayalon Highway, adjacent to the Israel Defense Forces headquarters known as Hakirya, which houses the military court.
"If you killed a terrorist they would arrest you too," yelled one demonstrator who clashed with police. "You are all in danger," others in the crowd shouted at police.
Honenu, a right-wing organization whose website states that it provides a legal defense to soldiers and civilians who are defending themselves against “Arab aggression or due to their love of Israel” said a lawyer from the group was being sent to a police station to provide assistance to those arrested outside the Tel Aviv courtroom where the Azaria verdict was announced.
Azaria will be sentenced at a later date and could still appeal.
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