Huge ´Democracy´ Rally Sunday Against Disengagement

Police began closing some streets Saturday night prior to a gigantic rally in Jerusalem Sunday, with more than 100,000 expected in the biggest demonstration ever to be staged opposite the Knesset.

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, | updated: 23:44

The public should arrive only by public or private buses, the police said. More main arteries are to be closed during the day for the 24-hour rally billed as a demonstration for democracy as well as a protest against the government's so-called disengagement plan.

Israelis from all over the country are in the third week of a long-term protest opposite the Knesset. Dozens of tens have served as welcoming areas for demonstrators, and Knesset Member Uri Ariel (National Union) has brought a trailer to the area as a temporary office.

Organizers of Sunday's rally have tried to encourage those who favor the government plan to join the demonstration as a support for the freedom of expression.

Concerns have been raised concerning government and police efforts to intimidate opponents to the plan. Last week the police arrested a 70-year-old Russian immigrant from Yitzhar in Samaria on suspicion of involvement in an attack on a policeman when defense officials destroyed two empty trailer homes near Yitzhar earlier this month.

Police arrested him as they tried to prevent residents from planting trees in the same area on Tu B'Shevat, the "new year for trees" on which trees traditionally are planted. Police held the man for two days before Yitzhak neighbors discovered he was arrested, but when they came to bail out the man, police refused to release him.