Police harass Jerusalem Day Parade detainees

Monday, May 21, 9:12 Five minors were detained yesterday during the annual Jerusalem Day Flag-Dance Parade in Jerusalem, Honenu reports. They were detained following a clash which broke out between Jews and Arabs at Sha’ar Shechem (Damascus Gate), one of the gates of the Old City of Jerusalem, after the Arabs threw objects at the participants of the parade. Yesterday, as on every Jerusalem Day, the traditional flag-waving parade took place. The parade started in the center of the city and proceeded towards the Old City of Jerusalem. The path of the parade, which was guarded by the Israeli Police, passed by Sha’ar Shechem, where Arabs on the scene began to throw objects at the participants. Several youths in the parade threw objects back at the Arabs and subsequently a clash developed. During the clash five Jewish youths, all minors, were detained and taken to the detention center at the Russian Compound. Honenu reports that the parents of one of the minors 14 years of age were required to travel from Dimona, a city in the south of Israel, in order to sign for the release of their son, on condition of a restraining order banning him from entering the Old City of Jerusalem for 15 days. The police chose to summon his parents from a great distance at an unreasonable hour even though the youth’s older brother, a Jerusalem resident 26 years of age, could have signed for him. At 5:45 this morning (Monday) the headquarters of Honenu received a call from the parents of several of the detainees who had been waiting in the police station in order to speak to the policemen. According to the parents they were told over the telephone by the policemen that if they arrived early in the morning they would be able to speak to the police about their children. However the parents’ wait was futile. Honenu describes the police conduct with the detainees as harassment and abuse. All in all, the matter was a mutual clash, after which the police detained youths from one side only. Why did the remand which ended in the minimal demand by the police of signing a restraining order banning the youths from the Old City for 15 days, have to end after they, minors all of them, spent the entire night in remand and not shortly after their detention in the afternoon? Currently the police and a Honenu attorney are negotiating the release conditions for the detainees.

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