• ACRI

Permit the existence of a protest tent in a public park in Jaffa


Illustration

A protest tent was set up in a public park in the center of Jaffa, by women and single mothers who live in the area and want to express the gravity of the housing crisis and the hardships they face in material subsistence. From the initial days of its establishment, the women were faced with many threats and warnings from municipal inspectors, who demanded that they evacuate the compound and stop the protest, even issuing fines.


On November 21, 2021, we appealed to the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality to cease the evacuation of the encampment. Attorneys Reut Shaer, Unit Director of the Public Hotline, and Sivan Tahel, Field Worker and Freedom of Protest Coordinator, emphasized that the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality, like any governmental authority, is obligated to respect and permit the realization of the basic right to freedom of expression and protest. Although the municipality has the authority to regulate the establishment of protest tents in the public sphere and to dictate conditions and restrictions in this context, the conditions and restrictions must be proportionate and determined so as to befit the constitutional status of the right to freedom of expression.


In this case, this protest encampment has solely existed for a few days, neither causing noise pollution nor interfering with traffic, and has not even prevented the general public from using the park and its facilities. The encampment is the sole means available for these women to protest and mobilize support for their struggle, which must also be taken into account upon maintaining a balance between the municipality's obligation to permit freedom of protest, and its interest in protecting public space for the general public’s benefit. We thus requested that the municipality refrain from vacating the encampment, and permit the protest to take place for a reasonable period of time, without exerting pressure on the women who are protesting. We further requested that the municipality open the municipal shelter adjacent to the park, to provide the women and their children shelter from the rain as needed.