News ID: 275664
Published: 0333 GMT October 18, 2020

As lockdown eases, Israelis again gather against Netanyahu

As lockdown eases, Israelis again gather against Netanyahu
Israeli police drag a protester as they forcibly clear the square outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence in Al-Quds on Oct. 17, 2020.

Thousands of Israelis demonstrated outside the official residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday night, resuming the weekly protest against the Israeli leader after emergency restrictions imposed as part of a coronavirus lockdown were lifted.

The protests were curtailed last month after Israel imposed new lockdown measures in response to a new outbreak. The emergency regulations blocked Israelis from traveling to Al-Quds to protest and allowed people to attend only smaller demonstrations within one kilometer (half a mile) of their reported.

The protesters gathered in central Al-Quds and marched to Netanyahu's official residence, holding banners calling on him to go and shouting "Revolution!" Many blew horns and pounded on drums. Scores of smaller demonstrations were held across Israel, and organizers claimed about 260,000 people participated in the protests.

The protesters say Netanyahu must resign, calling him unfit while he is on trial for corruption charges. They also say he has mishandled the virus crisis, which has sent unemployment soaring.

Netanyahu has been charged with fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes for his role in a series of scandals. He has denied the charges and has said he is the victim of a conspiracy by overzealous police and prosecutors and liberal media.

Israeli media reported several incidents of violence by far-right counterdemonstrators. In the northern city of Haifa, police said they arrested three people suspected of using pepper spray on demonstrators.

Earlier this year, Israel contained the virus outbreak imposing a strict lockdown. But a quick reopening of the economy led to a rise in cases, forcing a second lockdown.

Unemployment, including people on open-ended furloughs, has soared to nearly 25 percent, according to government figures. Many of the protesters include business owners, entrepreneurs and workers who lost their jobs.





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