Daily Israel Report

MK: Is Organizing a Protest Now a 'Price Tag' Crime?

A Yesha activist was arrested as he attempted to meet an MK - because he chartered a bus to bring students to a protest at Ramat Gilad.
By David Lev
First Publish: 1/4/2012, 10:12 PM

Knesset building
Knesset building
Courtesy Knesset

A routine visit to an MK on Wednesday afternoon turned into a trip to the police station for Ro'i Ridar, chairman of the action committee for the Binyamin Regional Council. Ridar arrived at the Knesset Wednesday for a meeting with MK Uri Ariel, and was arrested by Knesset security, on charges of encouraging a “price tag” activity.

Ridar's “crime,” he says, was the chartering of a bus for students at Merkaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem to participate in protests agains the demolishing of Ramat Gilad several weeks ago. Police had issued an arrest warrant for Ridar, and alerted the Knesset guard that he was planning to travel to the Knesset Wednesday. After the head of Knesset security conferred with police, Ridar was arrested.

MK Ariel protested the arrest saying that “this is just like Communist Russia. The prosecution and police are steamrolling over all the rules of democracy and acting like an elephant in a china shop. Arresting citizens who are acting properly and are just looking to carry out their rights to defend their homes is crossing a red line; it's a stop sign to warn us about the fragility of Israeli democracy. The right to protest and legally struggle against laws is a basic democratic right, and the prosecution and police are stealing it,” the MK said.

Commenting on the incident, MK Michael Ben-Ari said that “the arrest of Ridar for helping to organize a demonstration is another stage in the persecution of residents of Yesha, At this rate the next detainee will be the chairman of the Samaria Regional Council, and Peace Now will applaud.” The Yesha Human Rights Organization issued a statement as well, saying that “the arrest is a ridiculous expansion of the term 'price tag,' in which just protesting is now considered a provocation. It is intolerable that people whose only crime is organizing a protest would be arrested.”