Ashkelon man charged for pepper spraying anti-overhaul protesters in Tel Aviv

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A man was charged Tuesday with assault and threatening anti-judicial reform protesters, after he allegedly attacked them at a rally with pepper spray last week.

According to the indictment, 24-year-old Ashkelon resident Ram Eyal drove up at high speed to Thursday’s rally at a blocked intersection in Tel Aviv, left his vehicle, and sprayed the gas, injuring four protesters.

Police said the attack was politically motivated.

Dor, a demonstrator who witnessed the incident, told the Haaretz daily that the accused tried to run them over.

“We blocked him and tried to stop him from going forward. Then in response, he left the vehicle and sprayed the pepper spray. We called the police, which took 15 minutes to arrive, and after due process, they detained three people,” he said.

The accused’s lawyer said their client has no criminal record, and claimed he “came into the rally area by mistake and had no intention of harming demonstrators”.

“After we receive the investigation materials, we will present our arguments to the court,” the defense said.

Two other indictments were filed for attacks on anti-government protesters. On Monday, a 68-year-old Kiryat Ono resident was also charged with punching an attacker in the face, causing serious injury, and two weeks ago, a Ramat Gan resident was charged with threatening protesters with a screwdriver.

For 11 weeks, protesters have been rallying against the government’s plan, which will allow the Knesset to override court decisions with a bare majority, completely protect laws from judicial oversight, and put the selection of all judges in the hands of the Knesset. the coalition government. politicians.

Opponents argue that it will seriously weaken Israel’s democratic character, remove a key element of its checks and balances and leave minorities unprotected. Supporters call the reform much-needed for reunification in an overactive court.

Protests on Saturday, which drew hundreds of thousands of participants across the country, were marked by numerous acts of violence against protesters.

Organizers of the protests have vowed to intensify demonstrations if the coalition government does not stop its legislative proposals, which lawmakers put forward this week, declaring that “next Thursday is a national day of paralysis.”

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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