Protesters Plan More Building Invasions After Police Eviction

Protesters plan more building invasions, cerculating maps marking 30 vacant structures in central Tel Aviv, reading: "On with the invasion - a home without people for the people without homes."

Ilan Lior
Ilan Lior
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Ilan Lior
Ilan Lior

Socioeconomic protesters are planning further takeovers of abandoned buildings, despite the rapid evacuation early Tuesday of dozens of young people who occupied a vacant building on Dov Hoz Street in Tel Aviv.

The activists have circulated a map, marking the location of 30 vacant structures in central Tel Aviv. The sites marked come with a written slogan: "On with the invasion - a home without people for the people without homes."

Police removing one of the social protesters who had occupied a vacant building in Tel Aviv Wednesday.Credit: AFP

Meanwhile, the social networks saw intense debates about the future of the protest, and various possibilities have been raised about what to do with vacant buildings.

At 6 A.M. Tuesday a large police force evacuated the young people who had taken over a building owned by the Tel Aviv municipality on Dov Hoz Street. It has stood vacant for 12 years. The police informed all those in the building that they would be arrested unless they left on their own. In response activists moved to the building's top floor, and some even climbed onto the roof and barricaded themselves there. While most activists left on their own, others had to be removed by force. The police detained one of the group's leaders, Yigal Rambam, for questioning, and he was later released.

Hadar Shemesh, one of those behind the idea to take over buildings, complained that the police threw their bags and sleeping bags from the windows of the building and then prevented the activists getting their personal items. She assailed the municipality and the police for the decision to evacuate the protesters.

"It's an outrage," Shemesh complained. "This policy of not listening to us and behaving with brutality and insensitivity is a direct extension of what is happening here, on the part of the government. There are other abandoned homes in the city, and we will not let them oppress us. On the contrary, this only stirs up greater anger in us," she said.

After removing the protesters, the police sealed the structure and put up fencing and a security guard. However, the afternoon saw dozens of neighbors demonstrating in front of the building in support of the youthful raiders. They berated the municipality for being long negligent of the empty building.

A member of the Tel Aviv City Council, Yoav Goldring, attacked the municipality, saying that "the real culprit is the one who is not using public assets even though he is entrusted with their management. This is an intentional policy which serves [Mayor Ron] Huldai in transforming Tel Aviv into a city only for the wealthy."

Lavie Zitner, one of the organizers of the takeover, said: "Instead of [the city's] saying that we are beginning to prepare the building, they closed it up once more... It's very sad for us that this is the way they have chosen to act."

A municipal official, Rubi Zelof, was present during the evacuation and stressed that the city will take similar action when the law is broken. "We will not allow the takeover of buildings; it's against the law. The municipality has shown patience with the protest but the minute red lines are crossed and laws are broken, the city will not allow it. It's important to show maturity and patience, even when one is protesting."

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