MK hit by water cannon as police clear Jerusalem protesters

Protesters block streets to prevent lawmakers from reaching Knesset building; after several hours, police use force to disperse demonstrators, reopen roads to traffic.

By World Israel News Staff

An MK was struck by a water cannon as police moved to clear protesters illegally blocking roads outside of the Knesset building in Jerusalem, hours ahead of an expected vote on the reasonability clause.

Thousands of demonstrators opposed to the judicial reform legislation gathered in the capital on Monday morning, with many of them preventing vehicles from traveling through major intersections and thoroughfares at multiple points throughout the city.

The protesters effectively prevented lawmakers from approaching the Knesset building for hours on Monday morning, forcing MKs to utilize police convoys to reach the site.

At least three protesters were arrested in front of Economy Minister Nir Barkat’s home, and social media footage suggests that more were detained after police moved to open roads near the Knesset to traffic once again.

“Officers are working to disperse rioters who are blocking roads…in violation of the law, with some of them typing themselves together and to [objects] at several points on the roads near the Knesset,” read a police statement to Hebrew-language media.

“After the troublemakers repeatedly disobeyed officers’ instructions to disperse and stop the rioting, the use of forceful means to disperse the disturbances began.”

Read  Knesset votes 99-11 to reject unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state

Left-wing politicians have decried the police tactics, including the use of water cannons and horse-mounted officers, as a “siege” against the protesters.

MK Naama Lazimi, a member of the left-wing Labor party, told Hebrew-language media that she was hit by a “relatively weak” water cannon, and she bemoaned the methods used by the police to ensure that lawmakers can reach the building.

“The police are using tasers against protesters who are standing on the sidewalk…The conduct is brutal and violent,” Lazimi told Channel 12 News.

“I approached the commander and told him that the police [were not operating] according to the procedures. He said: ‘Let me do my job.’ The fact that a disaster hasn’t happened yet is a miracle.”