Warning Talks for Protest Activists in Lod
For several months now, periodic protests have taken place in Lod regarding the closure of the investigation file and the neglect to prosecute those responsible for Moussa Hassouna’s death amid the violent incidents that took place in May of 2021. Demonstrations and rallies are legally conducted without permits required by the police. They include neither riots nor disturbances of routine city life. Nevertheless, the Lod police make it difficult for demonstrators to exercise their right to protest by imposing fines and requisite conditions for conducting events in violation of the law. Ahead of a protest rally planned for December 10, 2021, the police even appealed to activists in an attempt to deter them from participating in the rally, through trying to convince them that it was an “illegal demonstration.”
In an appeal to the Lod police commissioner, we claimed that such warning calls gravely and severely violate freedom of protest, as well as the privacy and dignity of those summoned for talks. Moreover, attempts toward deterrence not only impact those same activists, but also generate a dire and widespread chilling effect, which may prevent many others from participating in legal and legitimate protest. ACRI's Atty. Reut Shaer, Unit Director of the Public Hotline, and Sivan Tahel, Field Worker and Researcher, demanded that the Lod Police cease to conduct warning talks and to exert pressure on activists, and permit protests to take place while ensuring demonstrators’ security.