Police questioned six officers on Sunday about their role in throwing stun grenades at anti-government protesters in Tel Aviv earlier this month.
Meir Suissa, a police officer, was one of the people who threw a grenade. He and five others were called in by the Police Internal Investigations Department.
After a video appeared to show Suissa throwing a grenade into the middle of a crowd of protesters, which is against the law, an investigation was started into what happened.
“I could see that things were getting out of hand. There was a rule that said stun grenades could be used. I threw two or three grenades, making sure to do so in an open area. I saw that the grenade had no effect on the protesters. I was at ease. “The goal was to finish the race without getting hurt,” he told investigators, according to the news site Ynet.
During the “day of disruption” on March 1, when protesters blocked a key intersection in Tel Aviv, police used stun grenades and water cannons to get rid of them. The protesters were against the government’s plans to change the judicial system, which would weaken its ability to check the political leadership. Ten weeks of protests have been going on against the measures.
At least 11 people with bruises, cuts, and burns from fighting with police went to hospitals to get help. One man had to have part of his ear sewn back on after what seems to have been a stun grenade hit him.
Itamar Ben Gvir, the minister of national security, has praised Suissa’s actions and called for harsher treatment of protesters who block traffic. In a statement on Sunday, he said that the investigation “sends a very bad message that Israel Police officers don’t have support.”
“The Police Internal Investigations Department has become a political body by deciding to hold an investigation.”
Ben Gvir said, “When it came to Ahuvia Sandak, they closed the case. When it comes to anarchist protesters who block main transportation routes and break through fences, they call the police for questioning.” He was talking about Ahuvia Sandak, who was 16 years old and died in a car crash in the West Bank while running away from police in December 2020.
Ben Gvir said, “If it were a protest by Haredim or immigrants from Ethiopia, we wouldn’t hear about it or remember it.”
Kobi Shabtai, the head of the Israel Police, said in a statement after the protest that several police officers were hurt when they fought with protesters. He said that the police were committed to letting people protest and speak their minds as long as they didn’t make trouble.