Following the seemingly unprovoked beating of an Ethiopian Israeli soldier by an Israeli police officer, hundreds have taken to the streets to protest racism and police brutality. The demonstrations led to clashes between police and protestors, injuries, and arrests—all of which brought the issue of protestors’ rights in Israel to the forefront.
“Those who are arrested at protests have little to no knowledge of the rights and protections available to them,” said Shatil’s Orly Peled, “and do not know how to record and deal with excessive police force or brutality.”
In response, Shatil, together with partnering organizations including NIF grantees The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), Public Committee against Torture in Israel, Human Rights Defenders Fund, Docurights, Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality, andT’mura, created ‘The Pocket Guide for Protesting Rights.’ Small enough to easily fit into someone’s pocket, the guide outlines protestors rights, the responsibilities of police, and lists the contact details of relevant legal organizations that protestors can contact if problems arise. The guide will be distributed at future rallies and protests.
Additionally, Shatil developed an app based on the guide, which in the coming days should be approved for download on Apple and Google. Noa Zilberstein, Shatil webmaster, noted that “a piece of paper can easily get lost or misplaced, but a phone app is always available at a moment’s notice.” (Usage of smartphones in Israel is among the highest worldwide.) Those using the app will be able to use it to connect seamlessly to those organizations and groups which can provide legal assistance.
The guide will assist and empower protestors not only for the ongoing protests by Israel’s Ethiopian citizens, but also in other future social justice protests. Shatil’s Ethiopian community organizer Gidon Ambaya said “The guide will serve as an important resource for those seeking to create change and make their voices heard.”