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Cop maced in clashes with ultra-Orthodox over Jerusalem light rail

Officer lightly hurt as police arrest 4 on suspicion of disturbing the peace; water cannons used to disperse protesters, who deny using violence

Ultra-Orthodox Jews clash with police to protest work on a new light, on Bar Ilan Street in Jerusalem, on August 24, 2021. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
Ultra-Orthodox Jews clash with police to protest work on a new light, on Bar Ilan Street in Jerusalem, on August 24, 2021. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Ultra-Orthodox protesters on Tuesday clashed with police in Jerusalem over work on a new light rail line through the area.

Police said that a female officer was lightly hurt after being maced with pepper spray on the capital’s Bar-Ilan street.

Cops arrested four protesters on suspicion of disturbing the peace.

A police statement said that officers were using “means at their disposal” to disperse the protesters, which included mobile water cannons.

There were no reports of injuries among the demonstrators.

The group that organizes protests against the light rail work denied demonstrators used violence against officers.

“Testimony from the field indicates the officer fell while chasing after passersby as part of dispersing the protest,” the group was quoted saying by the Walla news site.

They also claimed the police statement was meant “to justify the excessive use of violence and water cannons.”

Police were criticized over the use of mobile water cannons last year, after they turned them on anti-government protesters demonstrating against then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Bar-Ilan street, a major thoroughfare on Jerusalem’s north side, has been the sight of previous clashes between cops and Haredi protesters over the planned route of the city’s light rail through their insular neighborhoods.

Jerusalem’s only current operating light rail line was inaugurated in 2011 and runs along Jaffa Street in the heart of the city. Additional lines are planned, but their routes have drawn protests from residents of several neighborhoods.

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