Police attacked activists thronging the streets outside the Prime Minister’s official residence in Jerusalem at 1 am Sunday’s morning, using force to disperse several hundred protestors who refused to leave the site. Twelve were detained.
An estimated 15,000 people had packed Jerusalem’s Paris Square Saturday night to call for far-right Benjamin Netanyahu’s resignation, in the largest-yet rally by a burgeoning anti-government movement that has brought activists, many of them young and newly politically active, to the streets.
The Black Flag Movement claimed that around 60,000 people were present at protests all over the country Saturday night, calling the demonstrations “unprecedented” with tens of thousands of people demanding the resignation of an indicted prime minister who is “destroying the dreams that the country was built on.” The movement said that there are more than 850,000 unemployed persons and an entire generation that has been harmed because “an indicted man is busy with his trial.” Among protestors in Jerusalem, Joint List leader, MK Ayman Odeh, MK Ofer Cassif (Hadash – Joint List) and several Hadash, Communist Party of Israel members and young communists activists.
Another protest was held outside Netanyahu’s private home in the prosperous coastal town of Caesarea, while thousands waved flags and chanted against the premier at highway overpasses and intersections in close to 300 locations across the country on Saturday night. Hundreds also gathered at Charles Clore Park in Tel Aviv to protest the neoliberal government’s economic policies during the coronavirus pandemic. After the protest, some of the demonstrators marched toward the city’s Rabin Square, where police had barred the demonstrations from being held.
Protesters have for weeks been holding regular rallies outside the Prime Minister’s official residence on Balfour Street in Jerusalem, as well as in Tel Aviv and other areas, calling on the premier to resign because of his indictment and trial on corruption charges. These protestors have been joined in recent weeks by multitudes protesting the government’s economic policies during the coronavirus pandemic, with crowds numbering in the thousands and increasing in size.
Netanyahu has slammed media coverage of the protests, which he claims blows them out of proportion. On Saturday night, he again lashed out at TV news stations, as his Likud party accused channels 12 and 13 of “delivering propaganda for the anarchist left-wing demonstrations.” “They are desperately trying to brainwash the public, in order to bring down a strong prime minister from the right,” the Likud wrote in a post re-tweeted by Netanyahu on Twitter.