Israeli police beat up disabled protesters

Marianne Azizi writes:

Despite persistent hopes that the Israeli police would not cross yet more red lines in their brutal treatment of lawful, peaceful protesters, yet another red line has been crossed.

This week Israeli disabled people launched a protest in their quest to attract government attention to their pitiful living standards but were met with police violence.

Israeli police assault disabled protesters

Israeli police assault disabled protesters

Israeli police assault disabled protesters

For years disabled people in Israel have been pleading with the authorities for enough to live on, but their pleas have fallen on deaf ears. They not only have to live on $647 per month – a sum that had increased by a mere $50 in the 14 years since 2003 – but are marginalised by the state. In many instances, divorced disabled men have some, if not all, their allowance taken in child support, leaving them with little or nothing to live on.

It is no wonder, then, that this section of the community feels a need to be paid at least in line with the minimum wage of $1,381 per month, not half of it. They had hoped that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would approve a committee recommendation for an increase in their living allowance but their hopes were misplaced: he rejected the proposal.

The video below is not of a car accident and ambulances in attendance. Quite the contrary. It is of the Israeli police arresting disabled protesters, shackling them and forcibly removing them from a peaceful protest. Three fully disabled people were taken down by the police and shackled. One was a mentally disabled man.

Disabled people want to live with honour and dignity. To be dragged from a wheelchair and cuffed by police special forces is a most disgraceful act to be committed by the state.

But disabled people are determined to live in dignity. Their message is loud and clear:

Ofer Sofer, the cripple, was beaten and released from detention. He says: Wherever Netanyahu goes, disable people will follow him. We will not give up! We will not give up!

Pictures and videos of the shameful incident have generated a torrent of comments on social media. People are angry and ashamed of their police and of their country. But the price was high. As one of the protesters later told me:

I was detained, I wanted to leave but they wouldn’t let me. I had to have hospital treatment the next day for an eye infection from the paint on my face … My heart is broken to see my friends hurt by the police. We are not violent people. We want to live a normal life, but we will not give up until we have our rights.

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