Roads Blocked Across Israel

Wednesday's civil disobedience roadblocking protest continued into the early evening hours at some intersections.

, | updated: 17:33

Main thoroughfares were blocked across the country on Wednesday night, bringing traffic to on-and-off halts at many intersections. The roads blocked included Yechezkel Road in Jerusalem, Egged Junction near Tzfat (Safed), Morasha Junction, Jabotinsky Blvd. in Ramat Gan, the Geha Highway, and the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv between the JNF and Glilot Junctions.

As blocked roads were cleared by police, groups of activists scattered in different directions, blocking additional roads, causing confusion among the police forces.

Over 6,000 police were deployed along the country's roads and at checkpoints leading out of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Roadblocking organizers said that the deployment of such large forces was already a victory for their cause. The Bayit Leumi organization announced that road-blocking around the country would continue every Monday and Wednesday until the expulsion plan is canceled. "The police will try to break us with beatings and with arrests, but we will not be broken," the announcement stated.

Hareidi-religious protesters joined the road-blockings near B'nei Brak and in Jerusalem.

Israel National Radio's Avi Hyman reported that police used even more violent tactics than they have in the past, but that protesters were undeterred, locking arms and maintaining their non-violent protest.

"At one bottleneck in Tel Aviv," the New York Times reported, "police hurled young protesters head-over-heels over a concrete road divider."

Witnesses told Arutz-7 that police and undercover officers on Jabotinsky Blvd. employed horses, and in some cases beat protestors who were not blocking traffic - and even after the road was cleared. "There are people in civilian clothing, wearing orange anti-disengagement wrist bands, who have joined the police in beating protestors and refuse to identify themselves," one witness said.

One protester taking part in the blocking of the main Jabotinsky thoroughfare between Ramat Gan and B'nei Brak reported that the road was completely blocked by close to a hundred people for nearly an hour.

"A bride with orange ribbons on her dress and on her car was stuck in the traffic, so we decided to let her through," he told Arutz-7, "but everyone else is stuck as we demonstrate to the country that life cannot go on as usual as Jews are threatened with expulsion."

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called upon the police to do whatever possible to stifle the protests. "We will not allow a fellowship of gangs to drag the country downhill," Sharon told ministers during a cabinet session Wednesday.

All pedestrians were barred from approaching the entrance to Jerusalem, where police directed water-cannons at crowds gathered along the side of the roads.

Some 130 youths were arrested in the roadblockings - considerably less than the more than 500 who were arrested in last month's "dry-run" roadblocking. The Honenu legal organization, which has taken upon itself to provide legal assistance for anti-expulsion activists who face legal trouble, announced that a few dozen of the arrestees were released unconditionally after they did not identify themselves.




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