A rally protesting the political and security policies of Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert brought an estimated 100,000 demonstrators to Jerusalem’s Zion Square Sunday night.
The demonstration, the largest since the government uprooted 25 Jewish communities from Gaza and northern Samaria last August, is taking place under the shadow of last week’s demolition of nine homes in Amona and the brutal police reaction to people who protested the destruction.
Banners reading “Olmert is bad for the Jews” and “Olmert is bringing about civil war” were positioned at the center of Sunday night’s demonstration.
Speaking at the rally, MK Uri Ariel (National Union) said, “Yes it’s correct, Olmert is bad for the Jews…Olmert wants to shed Jewish blood and we won’t let him. We’ll remove him from office” on election day, scheduled for March 28.
Ariel called on the government to set up a special committee to investigate the large-scale police brutality that characterized last week’s demonstration to save Amona from demolition.
“I call on Olmert not to run away from an appointing a committee to objectively investigate” the prime minister’s involvement in calling for the brutal confrontation, said Ariel.
The mayor of Ofra, Yitzhak Meir, read passages from the Book of Psalms (Tehilim) and led the demonstrators in prayer for persons wounded by police at Amona and for those wounded in Sunday’s terrorist attack in Petah Tikva.
Video footage showing mounted police attacking and beating back demonstrators at Amona was shown on giant video screens during the rally. A video showing MK Effie Eitam (National Union) being trampled and mauled by mounted police was repeatedly shown to counter government claims that Eitam violently engaged the police by throwing rocks at them.
Tal Yahav, representing Amona residents said, “The number of people who came to us, to Amona, was incredible, men, women, young adults, and young couples with children….” Yahav also demanded that the government investigate the police brutality against the unarmed demonstrators.
“This violence was deliberately directed against us,” she said. “We never dreamed that Jews in this country would beat other Jews without mercy with horses and truncheons.”