Thousands throng central Jerusalem in anti-Netanyahu protest

Thousands throng central Jerusalem in anti-Netanyahu protest
Virus Outbreak Israel Politics

Thousands of demonstrators thronged the streets near the official residence of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in central Jerusalem on Saturday night, in a renewed show of strength as weeks of protests against the Israeli leader showed no signs of slowing.

Throughout the summer, thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets, calling for Mr Netanyahu to resign, protesting against his handling of the country’s coronavirus crisis and saying he should not remain in office while on trial for corruption charges.

Self-employed workers whose businesses have been hurt by the economic crisis also joined Saturday’s march.

Though Mr Netanyahu has tried to downplay the protests, the gatherings only appear to be getting stronger.

Thousands protest against Benjamin Netanyahu in front of his official residence in Jerusalem (Ariel Schalit/AP)

In Jerusalem on Saturday, protesters held Israeli flags, blew horns and chanted slogans against him.

Some held posters that said “Crime Minister” or called him out of touch. A large banner projected onto a nearby building said “Balfour is in our hands”, a reference to the street where Mr Netanyahu lives.

The demonstrators accuse him of corruption and the country’s bloated coalition government of failing to recognise the suffering of its citizens.

An estimated 1,000 also protested near Mr Netanyahu’s beach house in the upmarket coastal town of Caesaria.

There was a heavy police presence at the demonstrations (Ariel Schalit/AP)

There was a heavy police presence at the demonstrations but no reports of violence in the loud but orderly protests.

The rallies against Mr etanyahu are the largest Israel has seen since 2011 protests over the country’s high cost of living.

Mr Netanyahu has dismissed the demonstrators as “leftists” and “anarchists” and inciting violence against him. He also accuses the local media of strengthening the demonstrations by giving them heavy coverage.

Mr Netanyahu’s son, Yair, this week caused a public uproar when he described the protesters as “aliens”.

Many protesters Saturday dressed up as visitors from outer space to mock the comments.

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