Thousands Demonstrate in Jerusalem Against New a Usterity Measure in the Most Violent Rally Since 19
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Thousands Demonstrate in Jerusalem Against New a Usterity Measure in the Most Violent Rally Since 19

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Several thousand members of the Black Panther movement and residents of poverty neighborhoods in Jerusalem demonstrated in several parts of the city tonight against the government’s new austerity economic program and its expenditure of money for settlements on the West Bank.

In what observers said was the most violent demonstration by Jews here since 1971 when Black Panthers first took to the streets, the protesters burned tires, tossed barrels and hurled rocks at police. One police car was set on fire.

A senior police officer, Arye Ivtzan commander of the southern police district, was struck in the head by a rock and was hospitalized. He was expected to be released later tonight. A number of demonstrators were injured in clashes with police and several were arrested. The exact number of arrests was not immediately reported.

By 9 p.m. local time, the violence subsided but police were prepared for a possible renewal of the riots. According to one report, the Black Panthers were waiting for reinforcements from other parts of the country.


At the height of the demonstrations, large crowds of slum-dwellers gathered at 10 different locations shouting “16 Pounds is too much for milk,” a reference to the sharp price hikes announced by the government, and, “The government must fall.” They shouted obscenities directed at various Cabinet Ministers. They left piles of burning garbage, a rubble of stones and smashed windows. The stench of smoldering rubber tires filled the air in several neighborhoods.

Police responded in force and blocked one group of demonstrators attempting to reach the residence of Premier Menachem Begin. But they sought to mollify the Panthers. They urged them not to direct their anger against the police since there was no conflict between the police and the public.

Mayor Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem condemned the violence but said he identified himself with the slogan, “Money to the neighborhoods and not the settlements.” This was apparently in response to the Panthers’ cry “against price increases, against settlements.” Saadya Marciano, a member of the left-wing Sheli faction, charged that the government, in its economic program, “struck against the poor families but allocated IL 125 billion for the settlements.”

MK Charlie Biton, leader of the Communist-affiliated Black Panthers, grabbed a bull-horn in the Knesset and shouted protests against Finance Minister Yigal Hurwitz’s economic plans. He was ordered out of the chamber. The Knesset was debating the government’s deportation order against Mayor Bassam Shaka of Nablus. Speakers opposed to Shaka’s expulsion used the occasion to denounce the allocation of funds for West Bank settlement purposes at a time of acute economic crisis. A no-confidence motion on the Shaka affair was defeated by a coalition majority.

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