Israeli protesters denounce corruption, keep pressure on PM Netanyahu


Thousands of Israelis protested on Saturday, called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign, while denouncing his alleged corruption and the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Demonstrators gathered near his official residence in Jerusalem and marched through the capital, as thousands more demonstrated across the country on Saturday night.

Flag waving protesters clashed with police, who arrested at least seven people and resulted in one police officer injured.

The protest movement has gained traction in the summer months, with critics accusing Netanyahu of being distracted by a corruption case against him while COVID-19 cases have spiked.

The prime minister denied any wrongdoing and has condemned the demonstrations against him, accusing protesters of trampling democracy and the Israeli media of encouraging them.

On Friday, Israel passed 100,000 reported coronavirus cases and has recorded 809 COVID-19 deaths among its nine million population.

The economy meanwhile is in recession and unemployment hovers above 20%.

But Netanyahu argued that Israel’s economy is better positioned than many developed countries hit by the global pandemic.

Saturday’s protest comes just days before an Aug 25 deadline for the government to pass a state budget.

A failure to do so will lead to general elections. (Source: The Straits Times)