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  • ACRI

Pepper gas use as a means of crowd control in protests

In October 2023, the police updated the procedure for operating and using a spraying machine to allow the addition of pepper gas to the sprayed water. In February 2024, we sent legal correspondence to the police (Hebrew) and asked for information on the type of substance used, how it is used, its safety level and more, as well as a medical and legal opinion regarding the use of pepper gas.

On March 28, 2024, we received a partial response to our inquiry. In response (Hebrew) , the police confirmed that the officers were allowed to use a mechanism with pepper gas against demonstrators, and did so in several demonstrations following the outbreak of the war. The police refused to provide us with the medical and legal opinions on the basis of which the use of this extreme measure was approved.

Pepper gas is a chemical irritant that causes pain, skin and eye irritation, and difficulty breathing. For people with pre-existing health conditions and pregnant women, this measure can even be fatal. Chemical stimulation devices are inherently indiscriminate – that is, they cannot be aimed precisely at a specific person – and therefore there is a high risk that they will be harmed by passersby and vulnerable people. According to the ACRI's correspondence, this is a strategic move by the police, run by a Minister of National Security, who acts to suppress demonstrations and increase violence via very serious escalation in the use of harmful means against demonstrators.

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