Over 10,000 Israelis take part in renewed anti-Netanyahu protests

Over 10,000 Israelis take part in renewed anti-Netanyahu protests
Israeli police are continuing to crack down on growing anti-Netanyahu demonstrations, violently dismantling a protest encampment the day after clashing with participants in a 10,000-strong rally in Jerusalem
2 min read
09 August, 2020
Thousands gathered outside Netanyahu's home in Jerusalem [Getty]
More than 10,000 demonstrators rallied outside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's official residence in Jerusalem on Saturday, demanding that he resigns over his corruption charges for the fourth week in a row.

Thousands more anti-Netanyahu protesters gathered across the country, including in Eilat where demonstrators said they had been pepper-sprayed from inside a car.

The recent protests have been marked by a string of violent attacks on participants by alleged right-wing mobs, as well as allegations of police misconduct.

A photographer working for Haaretz was briefly detained during Saturday's demonstration.

Several clashes broke out between police and demonstrators after officers began ordering the evacuation of the protest site at midnight, with three people arrested ffor "disturbing the peace".

Meanwhile on Sunday, Israeli police violently dismantled an anti-Netanyahu protest encampment in Jerusalem, without presenting a warrant.

Authorities have attempted to disband the camp five times since it was established by leading anti-Netanyahu protest figures three weeks ago.

Video footage showed protesters being dragged along the ground by police officers attempting to confiscate tents, mattresses and sleeping bags.

Netanyahu has dismissed the protests - which call for his resignation over alleged corruption as well as his government's handling of the coronavirus crises - as led by "anarchists" and "leftists" out to topple "a strong right-wing leader".

Weeks of unrest

Israel's government was established in May after three costly, divisive and ultimately inconclusive elections, with the specific goal of countering the coronavirus crisis and soothing the schisms in society.

But from the get-go it has been characterised by deep internal fighting on most of the key issues, sparking talk of yet another round of elections. With Netanyahu on trial for corruption and being blamed for mismanaging the country's deepening public health and economic crisis, an angry public has taken to the streets in the largest demonstrations in nearly a decade against the long-time prime minister.

Meanwhile, coronavirus infections have shot up with the average number of new cases daily at 2,000, after what has been labelled a hasty and erratic reopening of the economy in May. The country's economy has been battered by virus restrictions and the unemployment rate has skyrocketed to nearly 20 percent.

The growing protests have recently taken a more violent turn, with right-wing activists assaulting peaceful demonstrators.

While Gantz has sympathised with the demonstrators, Netanyahu has taken a more confrontational approach, denouncing them as radicals and anarchists.

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