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2 anti-Netanyahu protesters charged for breaking leg of undercover cop at rally

Pair of activists allegedly beat plainclothes officer who was trying to carry out an arrest at weekly demonstration outside PM’s home in July

Israelis clash with police during a protest march against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on their way to Netanyahu's official residence on Balfour Street, September 5, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israelis clash with police during a protest march against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on their way to Netanyahu's official residence on Balfour Street, September 5, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

State prosecutors filed an indictment on Wednesday against two anti-Netanyahu protesters suspected of having broken the leg of an undercover police officer during clashes at a weekly demonstration outside the premier’s Jerusalem residence over the summer.

Uri Goldberg and Aryeh Bracha were charged with the aggravated assault of Itamar Ohayon as the latter sought to arrest rowdy participants at the July protest.

According to the indictment Goldberg hurled chairs and other objects at police officers, leading him to also be charged with participating in a riot. When Ohayon tried to arrest another demonstrator, Goldberg and Bracha pounced on the plain-clothed police officer, striking him in the stomach and groin and urging others to join in. The beating caused Ohayon to break his leg.

The charge sheet relied partially on witness testimony from a Channel 13 news crew that was also targeted in the brawl.

Golberg’s attorney Gabi Lasky said in a statement that the undercover officer had not identified himself, leading to confusion among the protesters.

“The use of undercover police officers during the demonstrations is unnecessary and creates unnecessary provocations. I hope the court will acquit my client and that police will act in accordance with the law,” she said.

News of the indictment came just a day after hundreds of right-wing protesters clashed with police in Jerusalem over the death of a young settler in a car crash while fleeing police after allegedly throwing stones at Palestinians.

Protests have been held nightly in Jerusalem and elsewhere since the death last week of 16-year-old Ahuvia Sandak in the central West Bank.

Some of the protesters on Tuesday were filmed beating police detectives who were attempting to arrest one of them in the capital.

Video clips showed the young demonstrators kicking the officers while they were on the ground and shouting “burn them” and “kill them.”

“During the arrest of a suspect by detectives, a number of protesters began trying to prevent the arrest of their friend while lightly striking one of the detectives, then fled,” a police spokesperson said, according to Walla news.

The police said the initial suspect was arrested, as well as one of the attackers.

Three detectives were attacked by around 30 protesters, the Haaretz news outlet reported.

Police said 39 protesters were arrested or detained overall and two officers were injured.

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