Jerusalem Depuy Mayor Arieh King helped police officers on Tuesday arrest one of the protesters at a thousands-strong rally in the city demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
King, a well-known right-wing activist who works to help Jews settle in East Jerusalem and evict its Palestinian residents, was elected to the city council on the United Jerusalem party slate, and was recently appointed a deputy mayor. In the past few weeks, he has criticized the city and its inaction against the protesters outside the Prime Minister’s Residence.
At the beginning of the week, King praised the removal of tents and equipment of the protest camp by the Prime Minister’s Residence. “Congratulations on the sidewalk returning to pedestrians and law and order being enforced,” tweeted King after the removal of the protester’s equipment. The evacuation and its reverberations drew much greater numbers of protesters in advance of Tuesday’s demonstration.
King was present during the entire demonstration, where some 50 people were arrested, and condemned the protesters’ actions. During the night, when the arrests were being made, King noticed an attempt to arrest one of the protesters, Gili Levy, and decided to aid the police officers by holding Levy by the leg and dragging him along the street for about two meters.
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In response, Levy shoved King and a short time later was arrested.
King said he acted according to the law, which allows a citizen to aid a police officer.
Levi wrote on Facebook that at a certain point during the protest at Paris Square in Jerusalem, when “policemen decided it was great to beat some random young man, I laid down to protect him and began to be hit myself. Inside the mess of kicks and punches, I suddenly felt that someone was dragging me. I raised my head from my curled up state and saw there among the jumble of policemen and horses a person wearing civilian clothes dragging me along the street."
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King said he helped out the police officer who was attacked by the protesters, but in a video of the incident the protesters cannot be seen attacking an officer. Instead, the officer and another policeman were seen seemingly trying to separate a cluster of protestors, possibly in order to arrest one of them.
King said in response that “a police officer arrested a masked protester at a distance of just a few meters from me. Within seconds, three other anarchist protesters joined the detainee and tried, with the use of force and physical violence against the officer, to prevent the arrest. When I saw that the officer was in distress and that they were acting violently against him, I helped him by removing one of the protesters who lay on him. I moved the protestor 1.5 meters from the scene and in doing so I ended up helping the police officer in distress."