Police Cancel Restraining Order Issued Against Gas Protest Organizer

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Demonstrators hold a rally against the proposed gas deal in Tel Aviv, November 7, 2015.Credit: Ofer Vaknin

Be'er Sheva police went back on their decision Monday to issue a restraining order against one of the organizers of last week's protests against the deal between the government and natural-gas producers.

Under the order, Alon Visser, who was questioned under caution after Saturday's protest, was barred from the southern Israeli city for 15 days. Organizers of the demonstration held on Saturday in Tel Aviv were also questioned under caution and ordered to stay away from the site of the rally.

According to a police statement, it was found that the "investigator who dealt with the incident was mistaken in his judgement," and in light of this, the restraining order was canceled.

Following the report in Haaretz, the Israel Police southern district approached Visser and admitted that there was a mistake on the part of the officer who ordered that he be kept away from Be'er Sheva. Another officer who spoke with him on the phone invited him to the police station and promised him that he would be allowed to stay in Be'er Sheva and continue his studies. As such, there will be another discussion about his case.

Visser was one of the organizers of the protest against the natural gas deal in Be'er Sheva on Saturday, and he signed the request for permission of the demonstration at the police station. On Monday afternoon, he was summoned to a local police station for questioning.

He was arrested and fingerprinted on arriving, and told he would be questioned under caution, on suspicion of violating an agreement with police regarding the protest.

“The rally was much bigger than expected and people blocked some streets,” Visser said. “We coordinated with the police and I asked for 50 more minutes at the end, since more people came.” The officer in charge refused, and declared the demonstration illegal, ordering its immediate dispersal.

After questioning, a court order instructing Visser to leave the city and stay away for 15 days was issued and he was told he might be charged.

Visser, a student at Ben-Gurion University in Be’er Sheva, said the restraining order is meant to cause him personal harm and to deter others from demonstrating.

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