Thursday, September 20, 2007

Freedom Speech in Israel-it is disappearing here

A public gathering last night in Jerusalem went array and you did not hear about it. Two groups held their demonstrations relatively close to one another. Peace Now had a demonstration closer to Olmert's house. The Women in Green held their demonstration at French Square which is opposite the Kings Hotel at the corner of Ramban and King George. Women in Green finished our demonstration and were ready to disperse when the police suddenly said that they wanted to arrest Nadia (Nadia Matar of WIG).

A heavyset policeman was standing next to me and seemed to be running the show. I asked him why he had ordered the action and he said that it was because she 'had a history'. There were about 20 people standing around and we all were shocked. Nadia had done nothing wrong; we were all witness to this. If they had thought that she had why did they wait until everything was quiet and the main part of the crowd had left (there were probably 200 people there at the height of the rally and signs were distributed that said "Israel is not Olmert's Real Estate"/ "Condoleezza Rice Go Home",and the like). It was obvious that the police knew that had more people been present there would have been stiff opposition to their even approaching Nadia who was just sitting on a wall and not doing anything.

There were about a dozen police there and suddenly the heavyset one charged into the group and directed others to take Nadia. She was dragged by 4 of them -two held her legs and two her arms - and another woman who tried to protect her was also taken into custody. Both were practically thrown into a van with others following and trying to prevent this - to no avail. There was no effort to protect their modesty; Nadia's cap also fell off

I had never seen this kind of police violence - although I had heard of it. A man in the group had a van and a bunch of us piled into it and went to the police station in Talpiot Interesting to me was the fact that Hezbollah can have open rallies in the US and make all kinds of threats - but freedom of speech is not permitted in Israel.

This is a developing story-more to follow

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