Updated: Jan 24, 2022
Sunday, December 12, 2021, 7:44 “The skunk” is a non-lethal, foul-smelling liquid used with a water cannon as a means of crowd control during protests.
After Shabbat (Saturday night, December 11), to mark one year since Ahuvia Sandak, z"l, was killed in a police car chase, approximately 700 demonstrators protested at the entrance to Jerusalem, calling for the policemen who caused his death to be brought to trial. Large numbers of police forces blocked the entrance to Jerusalem ahead of time, and initially the demonstrators stood along the street; no clashes were reported. Avraham Sandak, Ahuvia's father, recited kaddish at the site.
Approximately half an hour later, clashes began between the police, who operated water cannons, and the demonstrators. At one location, demonstrators blocked Kanfei Nesharim Street and tires were set on fire. At least four demonstrators were detained at this point. At the second location, approximately 1,000 demonstrators protested at the String Bridge. Yassam (Special Forces) police clashed with demonstrators, used a water cannon to disperse the protest, and detained at least two demonstrators. Knesset Member Itamar Ben Gvir came to support the demonstrators.
Later, mounted police arrived and the police began use of "the skunk" with the water cannon. Violent clashes broke out, brutal detentions were reported, a policeman hit a girl in the face and the police started operating a second water cannon. Demonstrators were injured and the police initially did not allow MDA (EMS) personnel to treat them. A Yassam policeman was filmed dragging a youth on the street. More seriously, a policeman threatened demonstrators at the String Bridge, shouting, "Do you want another death!? Do you want another death!?"
By shortly after midnight, Honenu's headquarters had received reports of over 15 detentions, among them 6 minors. In total, 24 demonstrators were detained, 8 of them minors, among them a 14-year-old girl. Honenu Attorney Daniel Shimshilashvili stayed at the police station and provided the detainees with legal counsel. Overnight, 15 of the detainees were released, some of them on condition of distancing from the area of the protest. Some of the detainees refused to sign on restrictive conditions.
Honenu Attorney Daniel Shimshilashvili, spoke from the police station: "The police have again taken a hard stance against demonstrators, some of them minors, disproportionate to what they have supposedly done, and prevented them from expressing their legal and legitimate opposition, this time more than previously."
Kan News tweeted a statement from Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon, who voiced his opposition to the use of "the skunk" by the police to disperse protests in the city (translation by Honenu): "I [Leon] asked the district commander to put a stop to the use of 'the skunk' in residential neighborhoods. It is a disproportionate response [to protests] that is not accepted anywhere in Israel other than in Jerusalem. The [affected] neighborhood has suffered from the stench all week, despite the clean-ups."