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Thousands of protesters throng Israel PM Netanyahu's residence; demand resignation

Thousands of protesters flocked the streets near the official residence of Prime Minister Netanyahu in central Jerusalem on Saturday night. The Israelis have taken to the streets to call on Netanyahu to resign, protesting his handling of the country's coronavirus crisis.

India TV News Desk India TV News Desk
New Delhi Updated on: August 09, 2020 7:51 IST
Thousands protest against Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in front of his official reside
Image Source : AP

Thousands protest against Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in front of his official residence in Jerusalem, Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Thousands of protesters flocked the streets near the official residence of Prime Minister Netanyahu in central Jerusalem on Saturday night. The Israelis have taken to the streets to call on Netanyahu to resign, protesting his handling of the country's coronavirus crisis. The protesters are also saying that he should not remain in office while on trial for corruption charges. On Saturday, self-employed workers whose businesses have been hurt by the economic crisis also joined the march.

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

The demonstrators accuse Netanyahu of corruption and say that he and the country’s bloated coalition government have failed to recognize the suffering of its citizens.

Israeli media estimated some 15,000 people at the Jerusalem demonstration. An estimated 1,000 also protested at an intersection near Netanyahu’s beach house in the upscale coastal town of Caesaria, and smaller gatherings took place on bridges and at intersections across the country.

There was a heavy police presence at the demonstrations but no reports of violence in the loud but orderly protests, according to Associated Press. 

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

After moving quickly to contain the virus last spring, many believe Israel reopened its economy too quickly, leading to a surge in cases. The country is now coping with record levels of coronavirus, while unemployment has surged to over 20%.

Many of the demonstrators, including many young unemployed Israelis, accuse Netanyahu of mishandling the coronavirus crisis and the economic damage it has caused.

Netanyahu’s Likud Party announced that Sunday’s weekly Cabinet meeting had been called off because of disagreements with the chief coalition partner, the rival Blue and White Party. The sides have been feuding over the country’s national budget, and if they cannot reach a deal by late this month, Israel would be plunged into an early election.

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