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Peace Now Activists Charge Police Are Trying to Discourage Protests

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Peace Now activists have accused the police of taking “draconic and illegal measures” to discourage demonstrations, such as the one it held Saturday night in Tel Aviv to protest the stalemated peace process and mourn the May 20 killing of seven Palestinian laborers by a lone Jewish gunman.

The police contend that Peace Now organizers did not observe the ground rules governing mass demonstrations.

A crowd estimated at between 15,000 and 50,000 marched from the Tel Aviv Museum to Malchei Yisrael Square outside City Hall, under the slogan “Stop Killing and Begin Talking.”

Speakers at the rally accused right-wing and nationalist political leaders, religious leaders and judges who impose light sentences on Jews convicted of killing Arabs of “giving the green light to murder.”

The march and rally were without incident, despite some heckling from right-wing opponents. But the police charged that the organizers had not fulfilled an obligation to hire several hundred professional ushers to ensure order.

Peace Now said it used “scores” of volunteers to perform the duty for a symbolic payment.

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