Israeli security forces set up new fences and roadblocks near Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s private home in Caesarea on Thursday in preparation for expected demonstrations, local media reported.
The anti-government protest started last month but so far gatherings have mainly taken place in front of Netanyahu's Jerusalem residence.
“In the evening, tractors and huge trucks arrived on the street of [Netanyahu’s] house carrying temporary fences and barbed wire fences,” reads an article in the Caesarea News newspaper.
In a post on its Facebook page, the paper specified that tractors dug and removed the old fortifications in front of the house and that residents were not warned or told whether the new fences were temporary or permanent.
Kobi Samsonov, a resident who lives three houses away from Netanyahu, told Haaretz that the equipment for the works was brought in earlier on Thursday.
“They put fences behind the houses and placed roadblocks,” he said adding “Local residents want to live in peace and quiet, no one wants demonstrations next to their home.”
“Let them demonstrate near the prime minister’s official residence in Jerusalem,” Samsonov complained. “You leave the house and when you come back you see a roadblock and iron bars, what type of feeling is that?,” he asked, “My neighbors got upset especially because no one was warned in advance.”
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Samsonov, who says he moved in before Netanyahu came, says of the demonstrations he “understands people’s pain, they have the right to express themselves.”
However, he regrets the slide into violence between demonstrators and security forces. “Punching and violence with policemen – it hurts. It makes me mad,” he says. As a former military man, Samsonov says it feels wrong to him, adding in reference to security officers “these young people want to live.”
Local residents say they experienced demonstrations previously, notably during the campaign for the liberation of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held captive in Gaza between 2006 and 2011. Likewise, protests took place in front of Netanyahu’s home against natural gas facilities being built nearby.
A protest in front of Netanyahu's official residence in Jerusalem on Thursday, in which 55 demonstrators were arrested, was the sixth such demonstration in the last ten days. Further demonstrations are expected on Friday and Saturday.
The protests started last month and as they grew and turned into marches on the center of the city, the police response also became increasingly forceful, with law enforcement deploying riot control units, as well as mounted units and water cannons.
More than 100 people were arrested in the last week and a half, most of them released with restraining orders preventing them from returning to the area.