Protester who climbed under water cannon: I wanted to protect hostages’ families

Alon Grozov says the thought of what the hostages are going through in Gaza gave him strength to stay under vehicle in demonstration near Netanyahu’s Jerusalem residence

Alon Grozov lies under a water cannon during a protest outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem, April 2, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Alon Grozov lies under a water cannon during a protest outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem, April 2, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

A protester who laid underneath a water cannon at a demonstration outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem on Tuesday said he did it “so that the hostages’ families wouldn’t be harmed.”

Alon Grozov, who was arrested for his action that prevented the police from being able to use the device, told the Haaretz newspaper that he had not originally planned to attend the protest outside Netanyahu’s residence and that he initially went to the one outside the Knesset.

“I sat all morning in the families’ tent, listening to them, and some very difficult things were said,” he said.

When it ended, he planned to go home but saw people marching toward the center of town and decided to join them.

“When I saw the water cannon, I didn’t think, I just acted,” he said. While under the water cannon, Grozov said the police released hot air or gas at him as they tried to get him out.

Video from the incident shows Grozov resisting police attempts to pull him out from underneath the vehicle.

Police try to get a protester out from under a water canon outside the Prime Minister’s official residence in Jerusalem on April 2, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

“I choked up and my eyes burned, but I thought about the hostages, what they’re breathing and going through, and that is what held me there,” he said.

When they finally got him out from under the water cannon, police arrested Grozov.

He was released on Wednesday evening.

Tuesday night’s demonstration, which began at the Knesset and ended next to Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem’s upscale Rehavia neighborhood, descended into what police described as an “unbridled riot” when demonstrators closed in on the premier’s home.

Alon Grozov is seen after a court hearing at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on April 3, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

It was the third of four planned days of protests this week demanding immediate elections and the release of the hostages in Gaza.

Hamas kidnapped 253 hostages, mostly civilians, during its October 7 onslaught, more than half of whom are believed to remain captive in the Strip. During a weeklong truce in November, 105 civilians were freed, with four released earlier, three rescued alive by troops, and the bodies of 11 hostages recovered by the military, including three mistakenly killed by the IDF.

The IDF has confirmed the deaths of 34 of the hostages still being held, based on intelligence findings.

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