The Israel Police responded this morning (Sunday) to video published on social media which showed a mounted officer beating a protestor during an anti-judicial reform demonstration in Tel Aviv on Saturday night and claimed that the footage did not present the full picture of what had transpired and that the protestor had attacked a police horse, striking the animal in the head.
“After being warned that this was an illegal demonstration and that force would be used, two protesters waved protest signs and a flag pole at the head of a police horse, in a way that endangered the horse, the rider, and the protesters themselves," the police said in a statement.
“The officer pushed the protester away using reasonable force,” the police added. "We also noted that this is not the first case of protests against the [judicial] reforms in which protesters have tried to beat the police horses. This is not the first case in which horses have been beaten with wooden poles used for signs and flags."
The protester claimed that "when the police cleared us, we left. I felt that the policeman was looking for a place to take out his nerves and frustration. I probably didn't move fast enough for him. He found the weak link and beat me. I was holding a sign and tried to defend myself after the horse stepped on me. It was completely disproportionate."
Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators protested throughout the county against the judicial reforms last night as they have each Saturday night for the last few months, even though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced last week that the judicial reform legislation would be frozen until the Knesset's summer session and negotiations between the coalition and opposition on a compromise have begun at the President's Residence.
As has been the case on numerous occasions in recent months, protestors blocked the Ayalon Highway, Israel's main traffic artery.