23:37 GMT14 August 2020
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    In recent weeks, anti-government demonstrations, which participants claim were peaceful, have been dispersed by the police with the use of water cannons, sparking accusations about the suppression of freedom of assembly and protest.

    At least five demonstrators, who protested against police brutality and attempts by Israeli Public Security Minister Amir Ohana to meddle in the work of law enforcement, were violently attacked on 28 July in Tel Aviv by a group of unidentified black-clad and masked people. The incident left several protesters injured as the members of the mysterious group threw stones and used glass bottles to beat and stab the demonstrators. As the men in black started to flee from the scene of the attack, they also reportedly used pepper spray against the protesters.

    It is so far unclear what group these people belonged to, as they wore no distinctive signs and initially tried to blend in with the crowd until the protesters started to disperse. They carried black flags in an apparent attempt to mimic one of the opposition groups organising the protests, the Black Flags movement, the newspaper Haaretz suggested.

    The black-clad attackers managed to flee the scene as the police failed to arrive in time to apprehend them. Law enforcement, however, arrested two protesters and promised to investigate the incident. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the violence against protesters, but also lashed out against those demonstrators, who threaten him and the members of his family.

    "Unfortunately, when a police officer is severely beaten by protesters in front of the prime minister's residence and needs surgery, or when death threats are made against me and my family every day [...] media and public figures choose to ignore [this issue]".

    Tuesday's protests in Tel Aviv took place close to the residence of Public Security Minister Amir Ohana, who, along with Netanyahu, opposition groups accuse of trying to use the police to silence the demonstrators. Ohana recently asked the police to take steps to prevent protests from being organised in front of the prime minister's residence. Law enforcement, however, responded that it was not feasible due to the country's laws and a Supreme Court ruling banning such initiatives.

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    Tags:
    violent protest, attack, assault, protests, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel, Tel Aviv
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