Thousands of Israelis gathered in various spots on Motzoei Shabbos to protest against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as anger mounts over corruption allegations and his handling of the coronavirus crisis. This was the seventh consecutive weekend the protests have taken place.
The so-called “Black Flag” demonstrations were held on over 250 bridges and intersections across the country, during which protesters called on the prime minister to step down.
According to the police, some 12,000 protesters rallied outside the official Prime Minister’s Residence in Yerushalayim. Organizers put the number at 20,000.
Several hundred protesters gathered in Tel Aviv and, in a trend that has been gaining momentum, around 200 rallied outside Netanyahu’s private home in Caesarea.
Carrying signs reading, “Your time is up,” “Crime Minister,” and “You failed! Go Home!” among others, demonstrators in Yerushalayim waved Israeli flags and called on Netanyahu to resign over what they say is his failure to protect jobs and businesses affected by the pandemic.
The protest movement has intensified in recent weeks, with critics accusing Netanyahu of being distracted by a corruption case against him. He denies wrongdoing.
Netanyahu has accused the protesters of trampling democracy and the Israeli media of encouraging dissent.
Netanyahu’s Likud Party called the protests “left-wing riots” and accused Channel 12 News of “doing everything it can to encourage the far-left demonstrations” of the premier’s opponents.
“Netanyahu is fighting to get Israel’s economy back to normal and to transfer funds and grants to Israeli citizens,” Likud said in a statement.
While the demonstrations have largely been peaceful, there have been signs of violence in previous weeks. Some protesters have clashed with police, accusing them of using excessive force, while small gangs of Netanyahu supporters affiliated with a far-right group have assaulted demonstrators. Three protesters were arrested in Yerushalayim on Motzoei Shabbos.
In another location in Tel Aviv, right-wing demonstrators held a rally near the home of High Court President Esther Chayut.
More than 200 activists gathered for a second consecutive week in the Tzahala neighborhood in Tel Aviv to protest outside Chayut’s house, accusing the High Court of being a politicized actor that acts in disregard of the wishes of the country’s elected officials.