An Israeli wedding in a settlement outside Jerusalem ended with a bloody fight and sobbing guests after police stormed in to break it up, accusing the family of breaking coronavirus lockdown rules.
Footage of police dragging the bride’s brother out a house, blood streaming down his face as he is escorted past a white cloth table set with flowers, has led to outrage in the government, and an investigation has been opened.
The family, who live in the occupied West Bank settlement of Givat Ze’ev, accused officers of attacking guests at the celebration on Wednesday night, and said they had been respecting lockdown regulations that limit gatherings to 20 people.
Police said an officer was attacked by the woman who owns the house after she was asked to present identification, at which point other guests began throwing “glass oil bottles” at the unit.
Police said they arrested the man with the bloodied face in the video, after he threw oil and then slipped on it. “During the arrest, both an officer and the suspect slipped on the oil and was injured by the broken glass,” the police said in a statement.
Video: Conflict leading up to gunfire shows man spray a chemical agent at another man with a drawn handgun (The Independent)
A police spokesman, Micky Rosenfeld, told the Guardian that the bottles were filled with olive oil. Blurred bodycam footage published by the police showed guests arguing with officers before a scuffle erupted.
The incident led to an outcry from some Israeli politicians, with the interior minister, Aryeh Deri, tweeting: “There is no reason in the world for police to break in with rifles in hand and harm people.” Deri, who like the wedding attendees is a member of the country’s Jewish ultra-Orthodox community, demanded an investigation.
The public security minister, Amir Ohana, who is responsible for the police, promised to look into the matter personally. “They are indeed difficult and unfortunate pictures,” he said of the footage.
Israel’s government imposed a second national lockdown on 18 September after infection rates rose to some of the highest in the world. Some ultra-Orthodox communities have been accused of ignoring the rules, leading at times to confrontations with police.
The national shutdown, which includes settlements in the Palestinian territories, has been extended until Sunday.