Four people were detained for questioning Saturday for protesting against enhanced Israel Police activity in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Isawiyah.
Some 100 protestors staged a demonstration in front of the home of Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon. The protest then moved to Paris Square in Jerusalem, close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Residence.
Protesting the detention of the four, demonstrators later marched to the Russian Compound in Jerusalem, after which another man was detained for police questioning.
The protesters, members of the "Free Jerusalem" group, came out against law enforcement in Isawiyah, which have been bolstered over the past six months. As part of the extensive police raids in the neighborhood — which residents consider as collective punishment — hundreds of people, including many minors, have been arrested. This is the third consecutive week in which Isawiyah residents are protesting against police activity in the neighborhood.
Free Jerusalem issued a statement saying that “We stand for our right to protest in front of the home of our mayor, an elected official who should be serving the residents of his city and who is abusing his office while abandoning them at the hands of his wild sheriff, [Jerusalem District commander] Doron Yedid.
"It seems the even in Rehavia the police know how to behave with needless brutality when it comes to the rights of Isawiyah residents,” the statement said, referring to the upscale Jerusalem neighborhood where the Prime Minister's Residence is located. “The people of Isawiyah have been suffering from the police's its iron fist for many months,” the statement added.
After the demonstration, Leon released a lengthy statement, addressing his policy towards Isawiyah, saying the neighborhood "is just a tool in the hands of the Hitorerut movement that began inciting the residents of Isawiyah.”
- Police step up raids, arrests in Jerusalem's Isawiyah despite mounting protests
- Israeli court freezes sale of Jerusalem church buildings to Jewish settlers
- Israel Police raids Jerusalem school it claims used by Palestinian Authority
Hitrorerut said in response that Leon is trying to pin the blame for his failure to handle East Jerusalem on the movement. "Isawiyah is not a tool in our hands, it's a neighborhood in Jerusalem on which sovereignty should be applied and whose citizens should be looked after, and at the same time battle the terror and delinquency existing in the neighborhood," the statement read.