Torch-Lit Protest Accusing Netanyahu of Corruption

YERUSHALAYIM -
Police stand guard as Israeli protesters chant slogans outside of the official residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the day his corruption trial was originally scheduled before it was postponed, in Yerushalayim, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

Dozens of Israeli protesters carrying burning torches, megaphones and flags gathered at dawn Wednesday outside Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s official residence in Yerushalayim to highlight his corruption trial, which is set to resume next month.

Police said at least seven demonstrators were arrested for disorderly conduct. The demonstration was organized by Crime Minister, one of several groups that have sprung up in recent months calling for Netanyahu to resign over the trial and his government’s handling of the coronavirus.

The protesters read the indictment outside his residence. He was supposed to appear in court Wednesday, but the hearing was postponed to Feb. 8 because of a coronavirus lockdown that heavily restricts public gatherings.

For months, protesters have held weekly demonstrations outside the prime minister’s office and at major road intersections and bridges across the country, though usually on Motzei Shabbos, not weekdays.

“We arrived this morning to remind the defendant that he cannot continue to destroy the country and evade trial,” organizers said in a statement. “If he does not come to court to hear the charges against him, the charges will come to him.”

Earlier this month, Netanyahu and his wife Sara were moved to a secure room in their Yerushalayim after demonstrators at the weekly protest rally breached a police checkpoint outside the compound.

According to reports, Netanyahu, his wife and several other staff members were rushed to the secure side room in the residence, where they waited for roughly 40 minutes before the premier’s security detail from the Shin Bet deemed it was safe for the prime minister to return to work. Eight protesters were arrested.

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With reporting by the Associated Press.