Hundreds of Social Protesters Crash Tel Aviv's White Night Festival

Protesters march on Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard while holding tents aloft during Tel Aviv's annual White Night Festival.

Hundreds of social justice protesters took to the streets during Tel Aviv's annual night-long White Night Festival, in protest at recent police violence against protesters.

On Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard, the site of last summer's tent protests, hundreds of social-justice protesters marched while holding tents aloft. They chanted slogans criticizing Mayor Ron Huldai and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and took over one of the small stages set up for White Night.

Later, protesters blocked the road at the corner of Rothschild-Allenby, and marched an event in the Neve Sha'anan neighborhood in south Tel Aviv.

Meanwhile, organizers of an alternative "Black Night" protest event in south Tel Aviv's Shapira neighborhood were forced to cancel a number of planned performances after they failed to secure a permit from the municipality.

Dan Shochat, one of the organizers of the event, said police had told him that there was "no chance" that they would be granted a permit for the event. "They told me that if we have the party without permits, we'll get official indictments."

Instead, they staged a community picnic in a park in the neighborhood.

On the event's Facebook page, organizers wrote, "We decided that the situation in the neighborhood is tense enough without confrontations [with the police], equipment being confiscated and arrests, and that we are not prepared to take responsibility for what could occur following a clash with the police."

The Shapira neighborhood has been the scene of violent protests in recent weeks against the presence of African migrants living in the area. The "Black Night" event in Shapira was organized in protest of the city's neglect of the neighborhood.

The other event, which was supposed to take place in the adjacent Neve Sha'anan neighborhood, did not receive permits either. "The police gave us problems," said Moshe Cohen, one of the organizers of the event. "We asked nicely, like people who want to respect the law. But the police didn't give [us a permit]. We are the south of the city, not the north. There, it's allowed."

Protesters were violently arrested by police over the weekend on Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard. A further demonstration in protest at police violence the following day, also turned violent.

A number of cultural figures pulled out of White Night in protest earlier in the week, and Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor Meital Lehavi (Meretz ) resigned and her party withdrew from the coalition that makes up the Tel Aviv city council, also in protest at the violence.

Well over a dozen art galleries withdrew their participation from White Night, as did prominent authors Etgar Keret and Orly Castel-Bloom. In addition, a literary event at Tel Aviv University has been cancelled.

Read this article in Hebrew