Thousands of protesters gathered outside far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official residence in Jerusalem on Tuesday, July 21, from where they marched to the Knesset and back. For hours, protestors blocked streets in central West Jerusalem, included Gaza Road, Paris Square, and Ben Tzvi, Ramban, King George, Keren Hayesod, Rupin and Kaplan streets..
Israel Police said they arrested a total of 34 protesters for “suspected disorderly conduct” and for allegedly “assaulting officers during the protest.” Among the arrested were Dean Issacharoff spokesperson for the leader of the Joint List leader, MK Ayman Odeh. Hadash MKs Odeh and Ofer Cassif (Joint List) participated in the demonstration. Despite mostly peaceful protesting as the demonstrators marched to the Knesset and back, police began forcibly clearing people from Paris Square outside Netanyahu’s home at about 1 am.
The protest was organized by several groups, including restaurant owners angry at the repeated closures forced upon them in recent months, unemployed and self-employed Israelis who say government support has been insufficient, and the “Black Flag” and “Crime Minister” anti-corruption movements against Netanyahu. Dozens also called for justice for an autistic East Jerusalem Palestinian man, Iyad Halak, murdered by police in May.
In Haifa, hundreds of unemployed, workers and restaurant owners also demonstrated against the closures decreed by the far-right government. The demonstrators, both Jews and Arabs and from northern Israel, blocked roads and called for compensation and for Netanyahu to resign. For hours they blocked the main avenue in Haifa’s German Colony. There were no reports of arrests or police violence or arrests, as there were in previous anti-government demonstrations.
Tuesday’s protest followed several other recent demonstrations outside the Prime Minister’s residence and elsewhere, amid growing discontent with Netanyahu over his handling of the pandemic and the economic fallout caused by government lockdown measures. On Tuesday morning, after 16 days of an ongoing, open-ended labor strike, thousands of social workers and supporters gathered in Tel Aviv’s central Rabin Square from where they marched down Ibn Gabirol Street, a major thoroughfare in the city.
View videos of Tuesday’s protest in Jerusalem: