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6 arrested in Bnei Brak as ultra-Orthodox rioters clash with cops over lockdown

18 20 13

Clashes broke out between police and rioters opposed to coronavirus lockdown restrictions in the city of Bnei Brak overnight Thursday-Friday, after a mob in the city injured a policewoman on patrol.

The demonstrations were condemned by leaders from across the political spectrum, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who vowed to act with a “heavy hand” against those who violated lockdown rules and assaulted police.

At least six people were arrested for disturbing public order. They were held for questioning and will have a hearing in Tel Aviv on Friday on extending their detention.

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The skirmishes began Thursday night, continued into the predawn hours of Friday morning and took place in several parts of the city.

The clashes began when dozens of rioters attacked two police officers on patrol in a vehicle in the city, lightly injuring a policewoman. The mob smashed the car’s windows, slashed its tires, pelted it with stones and tried to open its doors. One of the attackers appeared to run off with a bag snatched from inside the vehicle.

The officers were traveling in an unmarked car and some reports identified them as detectives. It was not immediately clear if they were wearing police uniforms during the incident.

The crowd had gathered as part of a protest against the closure of a yeshiva, or religious school, in the city that had opened in violation of the lockdown restrictions.

Around an hour after the initial attack, a force from the Yasam special police unit raided a yeshiva in the city, apparently the same school involved in the earlier incident.

The entrance of the Yasam officers sparked widespread disturbances in the city, with some residents blocking roads and burning trash bins and tires. Bnei Brak residents called police officers “Nazis” and officers used riot dispersal methods including flash grenades.

The rioters belong to an extremist faction of the Vizhnitz Hasidic sect, according to Hebrew........

© The Times of Israel

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