Knesset guards remove anti-government protesters from plenum, file police complaints

Sam Sokol is the Times of Israel's political correspondent. He was previously a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Haaretz. He is the author of "Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews"

Guards physically expel anti-government demonstrators from the Knesset plenum’s visitors gallery after they display protest signs and bang on the glass to disrupt the legislative session below.

Videos from the scene show Knesset guards ripping signs out of the demonstrators’ hands, struggling with them and physically removing them from the gallery as they attempt to remain and continue their protest.

“In view of the serious incident that took place this evening in the public gallery, which was intended to harm public order in the Knesset plenum, Knesset Sergeant-at-Arms Yuval Chen will file a police complaint against the rioters,” the Knesset spokesman says in a statement.

Those involved in the disturbance will also be barred from entering the Knesset and entry to the gallery will be restricted, the spokesman continues, adding that “the Ethics Committee will be asked to make a decision in principle regarding sanctions to be imposed on Knesset members whose invitees to the [Knesset] violate public order.”

This is not the first time that the gallery has been the scene of such a scuffle. In early April, chaos erupted as activists and relatives of hostages in Gaza splattered yellow paint on viewing windows above the plenum to protest a lack of government action to free their loved ones.

Security personnel immediately confronted those protesters, pushed them away from the windows and escorted them out of the gallery. In the Knesset plenum below, where legislators were voting on a climate-related bill, a number of opposition lawmakers had raised their hands in solidarity with the protesters.

Earlier this month, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir moved his Otzma Yehudit party’s weekly faction meeting from its regular location after relatives of hostages held in Gaza entered the room, carrying signs, minutes before it was set to begin.

The families came to an agreement with party officials that they could remain if they stayed silent but only minutes later, the MKs suddenly left the room and gathered in a conference room down the hall.

Knesset security prevented the families from entering the new meeting location, prompting angry yelling that could be heard through the door of the conference room.

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