Herzog on anti-government protests: ‘Violence is a red line that must not be crossed’

Police clash with demonstrators during an anti-government protest outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem, April 2, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Police clash with demonstrators during an anti-government protest outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem, April 2, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

President Isaac Herzog says “violence is a red line that must not be crossed,” after an anti-government demonstration this week descended into what police described as an “unbridled riot.”

“It is clear to all of us that the right to demonstrate and protest is one of the fundamental rights in our democracy,” Herzog is quoted by Hebrew media as saying.

“But there is a way to argue and disagree and demonstrate. Violence is a red line that must not be crossed under any circumstances,” he says, adding that “internal division is a big incentive for our enemies.”

Herzog’s comments echo a warning yesterday from Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar, who said that violent discourse both online and at Tuesday’s protest in Jerusalem “go beyond acceptable protest.”

Tuesday night’s demonstration, which began at the Knesset and ended near Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Jerusalem residence, descended into violence when demonstrators closed in on the premier’s home. Officers and demonstrators were treated for injuries sustained throughout the night, including one officer at whom a protester had lobbed a burning torch.

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