Social demonstration.
Social demonstration. Israel news photo: Flash 90

Police Commissioner Lt. Gen. Yohanan Danino said Tuesday that the violence in Tel Aviv at week's end was not a spontaneous grassroots protest but "a pre-planned series of violent offenses," according to IDF Radio.

The protesters planned to place their social agenda in the public spotlight "at any price," he said, "but the price is too heavy for the state of Israel."

"There is nothing more absurd than the accusation that the police will not allow a protest," insisted Danino. "We will do everything so that the protests take place, but freedom of demonstration must not turn into chaos."

The commissioner said that the right to protest does not include the right to cause bodily harm and damage the property of other people. Police will give its permission to hold protests as long as they are legitimate and carried out in accordance with the law.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said that the right to protest is a basic one in a democracy, but there is no room for violence and vandalism. "I opposed violence during the evacuation from Gaza too," he explained, "and the same holds true for the social protest. There is no difference between violence from the left and violence from the right."

Steinitz and Danino spoke at a Finance Ministry conference in Jerusalem. 

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