June 24, 2012 / 7:11 AM / 8 years ago

Israeli protesters smash bank windows, block roads

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Scores of demonstrators clashed with police, smashed bank windows and blocked roads in Israel’s commercial capital Tel Aviv overnight during a protest against the arrest of an activist.

Police said they detained 85 people at the rally, the latest sign of a nationwide protest movement demanding social reforms and affordable housing.

People at the rally said they were angered after a protest leader said she had been injured while being taken into custody at a demonstration in Tel Aviv on Friday.

Hundreds of people gathered in the city late on Saturday and parts of the crowd clashed with police into the early hours of Sunday morning, live television footage showed.

“Over 1,500 people demonstrated at various places in Tel Aviv until a point where the protests turned violent and there were disturbances. They blocked roads and smashed windows at five banks and until 3 a.m. (00:00 GMT), 85 people were arrested,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

Last summer, hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets and tent cities mushroomed across the country in an unprecedented campaign for economic and social reform that caught the government by surprise.

The led Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a panel chaired by economist Manuel Trajtenberg which recommended raising welfare spending and lowering defense expenditure. Activists say the reforms have not gone far enough.

Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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