Rightists March Through Sderot in Bid to Reach Former Gaza Settlement

Police station 200 officers across city to block demonstration, arrest 7 protesters and three organizers.

Hundreds of right-wing activists on Sunday began marching through the Negev town of Sderot in an attempt to reach the former Gaza settlement of Gush Katif, despite clear warnings from both police and municipal leaders.

The Sderot municipality voiced its opposition to the protest immediately after it was announced and local police detained 10 former Gush Katif residents ahead of the march.

"None of the demonstrators asked for a permit and the [protest] was not organized with any of the proper authorities," said Lachish District Police Chief David Bitan. "Neither the march nor the demonstration are legal. It could harm the public peace and we will not let it happen."

Three of the demonstration organizers were among the detainees, according to Bitan. He said police would ask the court to extend their remand.

Police stationed some 300 officers across the city and were on special alert to prevent the unlawful assembly.

"Sderot residents are enjoying the tranquility of the holiday," said Sderot Mayor David Buskilla. "Whoever plans to demonstrate must have the proper permits."

Sderot is less than 5 kilometers from the Gaza border and has been subject to a constant onslaught of Qassam rockets from the coastal territory.