Thousands of Israelis took to the streets of Jerusalem again Saturday demanding the prime minister’s resignation.
The protesters convened outside Benjamin Netanyahu’s official residence, decrying alleged corruption and his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I came here in order to make Bibi Netanyahu go away,” said Shlomit Cohen, a protester from the Galilee, using Netanyahu’s nickname. “We are tired; that’s enough. We don’t want him anymore.”
The demonstrations against Netanyahu have continued for more than a month, and Saturday’s rally came as Israel is dealing with record numbers of coronavirus infections.
“Now here it’s a protest against the government, and a lot of people are coming here for different reasons,” said protester Reut Peretz, 23. “Some people are coming here to protest the police violence, some people are coming here to protest the corruption, Bibi corruption. But the thing that unites everyone is the government — that everyone wants the government to change because there is a lot of unemployment in the country and because of the handling of the coronavirus.”
Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing and has dismissed the protesters as “leftists” and “anarchists,” accusing Israeli media of encouraging them.
Police intervened to clear the protesters near the official residence of the prime minister and arrested at least a dozen of them, including a man who police said “was dressed up as a woman in a provocative way.”
According to Johns Hopkins University data, Israel has more than 129,000 coronavirus cases and more than 1,000 COVID-19 deaths. The country, with a population of 9 million people, is in a recession and unemployment has spiked to above 20%.