Man arrested for alleged fire extinguisher attack on anti-Netanyahu protesters

Suspect accused of spraying protesters with flame-retardant foam in Pardes Hannah, amid string of attacks against demonstrators

Kikar Meged, a traffic circle in Pardes Hanna, where an alleged attack against anti-Netanyahu protesters took place. (Screenshot: YouTube)
Kikar Meged, a traffic circle in Pardes Hanna, where an alleged attack against anti-Netanyahu protesters took place. (Screenshot: YouTube)

A resident of Pardes Hannah was arrested Thursday for allegedly attacking protesters with a fire extinguisher during an anti-Netanyahu demonstration at a traffic circle in the northern city two weeks ago.

According to a police statement, an investigation began after videos circulated on the internet showing a car driving past protesters gathered at the Meged traffic circle and spraying them with a fire extinguisher.

After investigating the incident, officers arrested the 31-year-old man and took him in for questioning, police said in a statement, noting that they had yet to decide whether to request an extension of his remand from the court.

On Tuesday police arrested four far-right activists for harassing protesters demonstrating against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the central city of Holon, as video footage showed one of them attacking the demonstrators with pepper spray.

Separately, anti-Netanyahu protesters in Jerusalem were hit with vegetables hurled by passersby, Channel 12 reported on Tuesday.

Protests in recent months have seen dozens of reported attacks on anti-Netanyahu demonstrators, including by one Sderot resident accused of assaulting a protester with a sharp object.

Another serious incident occurred in July, when several suspected far-right activists attacked protesters as they took part in a demonstration in Tel Aviv. The attackers were seen hitting demonstrators with glass bottles, clubs and chairs and spraying them with mace. Some 10 people were hospitalized, including two with stab wounds in their backs.

Anti-Netanyahu protesters at the Chords Bridge at the entrance to Jerusalem on August 22, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

There have also been two suspected incidents of cars trying to ram protesters.

Thousands of Israelis participated in weekly demonstrations outside Netanyahu’s official residence in Jerusalem for months this summer, calling on the longtime prime minister to resign while on trial for corruption.

Since new restrictions on protesting were approved last month, tens of thousands of Israelis have staged protests on street corners and public squares near their homes against Netanyahu and against the government’s perceived mishandling of the coronavirus crisis and its economic fallout. Those restrictions were lifted Wednesday.

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