Riot police use water cannon and stun grenades grenades as unrest swells over Jerusalem coronavirus lockdown – The Sun

RIOT police have deployed a water cannon and stun grenades as they put down unrest swelling in Jerusalem over the coronavirus lockdown.

Protesters hurled objects reportedly including stones, eggs and metal bars as disorder spread in the ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood of Mea Shearim.

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Videos show police clashing with protesters as reportedly up to 100 people demonstrated against lockdown measures – which have been extended to April 19.

Many in the Haredi Jewish community feel discriminated against by the coronavirus restrictions which they claim curb their religious freedoms in Israel.

Health Ministry officials said the protest which descended into violence did not adhere to social distancing guidelines so had to be broken up, reports the Times of Israel.

Clips shared on social media show a police water cannon being deployed, and brawls as armoured cops attempted to enter a synagogue.

Numerous men could also be seen being led away by police amid the chaotic scenes.

A nine-year-old girl, Zissel Margaliot, was also caught up in the riot and was injured after being hit by a stun grenade.

Zissel has been hospitalised after being injured over her eye, but her dad Dov has said she is still in shock.

Police have defended their actions, saying officers had used “reasonable force” in breaking up the protest.

In a statement, the force said they did not realise the child was standing in the “eye of the storm”.

Cops said 12 people were arrested during the riot and three police officers were injured, with one requiring hospital treatment.

Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, who heads the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party, condemned the violence – but also the police.

He warned of an “erosion of public order” if these clashes continue – saying they “endanger human lives and create hate”.

Mea Shearim has been placed on lockdown as part of measures to combat Covid-19 – which has infected almost 13,000 people and 148 in Israel.

It comes after the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak was placed on lockdown last month, with one resident lamenting the Haredi community are being treated like “lepers and criminals”.

Coronavirus has hit the community harder than the rest of the nation, with reports from the end of March stating half of Israel’s hospitalised cases come from the ultra- Orthodox.

Tensions have previously raged between the community and the rest of Israel over their exemption for the state’s mandatory military service.

Israel is considering easing back its lockdown as the government convened on Thursday to discuss an exit-plan.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's chief financial adviser Avi Simhon said the first step is to reopen some shops and workplaces.

He added however it is too early to consider opening schools again, as the PM said there must be a “gradual and responsible” end to lockdown.

The Health Ministry is calling for businesses to keep closed for at least a month, but the Finance Ministry is demanding restrictions be eased as early as Sunday.

All businesses except supermarkets, pharmacies, petrol stations and banks have remained shut since March 15.

It comes as US President Donald Trump is putting pressure on America to reopen despite leading the world’s infection tallies with almost 680,000 cases and 35,000 deaths.

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