Jerusalem Protesters Call to Release ultra-Orthodox Man Detained for Spitting at Policewoman

13 detained during protest against the continued detention of Benjamin Friedman, who has been in custody for three months

Aaron Rabinowitz
Aaron Rabinowitz
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Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews demonstrated Wednesday night in Jerusalem in protest of the continued detention of Benjamin Friedman, who was arrested more than three months ago on suspicion of spitting at a policewoman.

Demonstrators blocked Bar Ilan street, which goes through ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods in northern Jerusalem and was the setting for riots over the closure of the roads on Shabbat in the early 2000s, set fire to cans and confronted police. Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Friday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck.

Benjamin Friedman, a resident of Beit Shemesh, in central Israel, remains in custody following his refusal to carry an electronic handcuff on Shabbat. Since his arrest, members of extremist factions have occasionally taken part in demonstrations in the Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem.

Police forces in the area have often used violence against demonstrators. Footage circulating on social media from Wednesday's demonstration shows a police officer kicking one of the protesters hard and punching him in the face. Other images show police pushing demonstrators who fall to the floor.

In addition, the demonstrators surrounded a car that got stuck in the place, threw objects at it and tried to open the doors. The driver fled the scene, running over a protester. Police said they have launched a search for the driver.