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Allow the Hadash Student Group to Rally, Marking Nakba Day

On May 12, 2024, we petitioned the High Court of Justice (Hebrew), on behalf of the Hadash student group at Tel Aviv University, after the police did not respond to their request to hold a rally marking Nakba Day on May 15 at the entrance to the university. Although this is not a demonstration that requires a permit, the activists in the student group asked to coordinate the rally with the police. Their repeated requests, for about a month, went unanswered, and finally they were told, without explanation, that the police did not approve the rally.

 

Our petition emphasizes that the protection of freedom of expression must be protected even when those who demand its implementation are not members of the majority group, as well as when the opinions and messages expressed do not fall within the boundaries of the public consensus and are liable to provoke opposition and even violence. Otherwise, only the opinions agreed upon by the majority of the public will be heard, and freedom of expression will be disposed of. We additionally stressed the obligation to allow freedom of expression and protest even in difficult times and in the charged atmosphere of war.

 

The petition claims that since the outbreak of the war, the police have been using a "method" of delays in responding to requests from organizers of controversial demonstrations and public events until the last minute, only to reject the request very close to the appointed date. This conduct indicates an attempt to prevent demonstrations and rallies without the police having to openly admit that it refuses to issue a permit, without having to explain its decision, and often thwarts the possibility of subjecting its decision to judicial review. It was also argued that the refusal of the police in this caseparallels the systematic suppression of demonstrations, and even small protest, which in turn silences the point of view of the Arab public in Israel.


Following the filing of the petition, the police announced, the day before the planned date of the rally, that they would allow it to take place, and the petition was dismissed.


HCJ 3933/24 Hadash Party Student Group at Tel Aviv University v. Tel Aviv District Commander, Israel Police


Attorneys Reut Shaer & Gadeer Nicola

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