Thousands of Israelis hold anti-govt. protest despite new law against gatherings


Thousands of Israelis protested across the country on Saturday, Oct. 03, despite a new law banning anti-government demonstrations during a coronavirus lockdown.

The new law bans Israelis from holding demonstrations more than 1km from their homes and forces stricter social distancing, a measure the government said was aimed at curbing COVID-19 infections.

The new law also forces stricter social distancing and limit the number of people that can gather in a group. Demonstrators will be confined to groups of up to 20 people only.

Critics of the government have called the law a blow to freedom of speech.

Most protests on Saturday night were small and scattered throughout the country, though a crowd of thousands gathered in Tel Aviv.

The protests aimed to keep the pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his handling of the coronavirus crisis and over allegations of corruption, which he denies.

A small number of protesters scuffled with police and tried to block city streets and about fifteen were arrested, a police spokesman said.

Israel has shut down much of its economy and instructed people to stay within a kilometre of their homes whenever possible in an effort to contain a second-wave surge in coronavirus infections. (Source: The Straits Times)