One day after a Social Justice protester set himself on fire in Tel Aviv, protesters rallied across Israel in solidarity, but things got a little out of hand.
The Jerusalem Post reports that immediately after the protest rally in Tel Aviv Sunday night, vandals tried to set fire to the National Insurance Institute in Ramat Gan, and spray painted graffiti on the wall that says "price tag Moshe Silman." He's the man who set himself on fire during a massive Social Justice protest Saturday.
Earlier a few thousand protesters blocked the busy Ayalon Highway, and began trying to smash an ATM machine but police stepped in to stop it. There were a few scuffles but police were videotaping the protest to capture any protesters breaking the law. Protest organizer Yael Ben Yefet tells the Jerusalem Post, “It’s going to be a rage demonstration. I think people are on the verge of crying, as am I, or want to strike someone or something.” But she says any violence would be a form of "counter-violence" adding “There is violence by the government. They are the violent ones. And maybe today something will strike back.”
The protesters also held a moment of silence when rumours began circulating that Silman had died of his injuries, but that's not the case. Haaretz says Silman is listed in critical condition in hospital with burns over 94% of his body.
Demonstrators read out the letter that Silman had handed out before he set himself on fire, which accuses the government, Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Finance Minister of being responsible for his plight. He says he received no help to pay his rent or his bills after he was forced to quit work as a Tel Aviv taxi driver, after suffering a stroke.
Similar protests were held across the country. A man threatened to set himself on fire outside a the cellphone company 'Orange' in Petah Tikva over an outstanding debt. The man poured gasoline over himself and threatened to light it if the company didn't wipe out his debt of about 20,000 shekels or $5,000USD. Police arrested the man and are deciding whether to send him for psychological evaluation.
In Jerusalem, three demonstrators were arrested as clashes broke out with police as nearly a hundred protesters tried to block busy city streets. According to the Jerusalem Post, They marched to the Prime Minister's residence chanting "we are all Moshe Silman" and "the blood is on the government's hands!" Later as they tried to block the LRT line, some were yelling "Let's burn ourselves!"
In Haifa, where Silman was living before his self-immolation, dozens of protesters rallied outside government offices Army Radio reports some of them say they understand Silman's desperation, that they also have been pushed to the edge by government bureaucracy over public housing.