Some 300 demonstrators who blocked roads and crippled rush hour traffic in protest over the Gaza pullout have appeared in court. Young supporters, most of them Orthodox Jews, sang and danced outside the courtrooms in solidarity with their friends, many of whom were brought to court in handcuffs. About 130 were released with a ban on similar protests for 60 days. The ban would expire in mid-July, giving activists plenty of time to step up the pressure ahead of the pullout, which is due to begin a month later. Deputy Premier Shimon Peres said police are prepared to take tougher action. "The police are trying to do things as gently as possible,” Peres told Israel Radio. “If there will be an escalation in protests, I believe there will be an escalation in the response."
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