Allow a Demonstration in Tel Aviv Calling for a Ceasefire and the Return of the Abductees
On November 15, 2023, we petitioned (Hebrew) the Supreme Court on behalf of officials in the Hadash party in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, demanding permission for them to hold a demonstration in central Tel Aviv, calling for a ceasefire, the release of the hostages, and the promotion of peace. In the Tel Aviv district, the police refused to grant a permit for the demonstration, citing concerns about the potential for clashes and harm to public security and public order, limiting the police's capabilities during wartime and affecting the feelings of families displaced from the south and residing in Tel Aviv.
The petition argues that freedom of expression and the right to demonstrate are not set aside in times of crisis and war. Court rulings have established that when the police consider granting a permit for a demonstration, they must ignore its content and the ideological background of its organizers and those expected to participate. Even demonstrations against those who oppose the protest's content, as well as concerns about disrupting order or causing emotional distress, are not grounds to deny the right to protest. The ruling justifying restrictions on freedom of expression and demonstration claims the protests are real, severe, and serious harm to public security or public order. Such claims must be accompanied by concrete evidence that supports a close certainty of severe harm to public order, and no such evidence was presented by the petitioners. It is further argued that the refusal to grant a demonstration permit in this case is part of a systematic and consistent conduct by the police during wartime, not allowing protests that deviate from the consensus.
In the hearing on November 16, 2023, the police agreed to approve the demonstration at a different location and with a limitation on the number of participants. During the discussion, the importance of protecting freedom of expression even in times of war was clarified, as well as the duty of the police to protect demonstrators, regardless of their worldview.
Supreme Court case 8211/23 Levi v. Commander of the Tel Aviv District, Israel Police
Attorneys: Tal Hasin, Anne Suciu