Leftist and rightist Israelis clash at Gaza flotilla protest in Tel Aviv
Smoke grenade hurled at left wing protesters from unknown source; demonstrators carry banners saying 'the government is drowning us all.'
Leftist and rightist demonstrators clashed Saturday night in Tel Aviv as more than 6,000 Israelis gathered to protest the Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship earlier this week, in which nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed.
The protest was originally planned by to mark the anniversary of the Six Day War which broke out 43 years ago today. Among the organizers were left wing parties Meretz, Hadash and Peace Now organization. The demonstrators carried banners saying "The government is drowning us all," "We must stride for peace," and "A right wing government = clear and immediate danger to state security."
As the demonstrators marched from the Rabin Square near the city's municipal building toward the Tel Aviv museum several hundred rightist demonstrators followed the procession. Upon their arrival at their final destination the spirits heated up between the two opposing groups, during which they two sides cursed and shouted at each other.
A smoke grenade was also hurled at the left wing demonstrators from an unknown source.
Police were deployed to keep the two sides apart. Clashes were also reported on the central Ibn Gevirol Street.
Among the leftist demonstrators, hundreds carried Israeli flags to establish that they were not demonstrating against Israel nor questioning the country's existence, but rather protesting the actions executed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing government.