Thousands of Israelis hold simultaneous protests against PM Netanyahu

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Protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continue across Israel on Saturday night as thousands call for his resignation over alleged corruption and mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic which is resurging in the country.

People held up banners accusing Netanyahu of “failure” and calling for his resignation at scores of intersections and bridges across the country as well as outside his private residence in the northern town Caesarea.

Meanwhile, the bulk of the protestors which is in the thousands, have gathered outside the prime minister’s official residence in Jerusalem.

In Tel Aviv, hundreds protested against rising unemployment and the government’s alleged failure to support self-employed people who have lost their livelihoods due to the pandemic, media reports said.

Mask wearing protestors carried signs accusing Netanyahu, whose graft trial is on-going at the Jerusalem district court, of corruption and failing to resolve the coronavirus crisis and the related economic malaise.

Israel won praise for its initial response to the COVID-19 outbreak, but the government has come under criticism amid a resurgence in cases after restrictions were lifted starting in late April. Netanyahu has himself acknowledged that the economy was re-opened too quickly.

The country of some nine million people has so far recorded over 72,000 confirmed cases, including 523 deaths.

The protests have been going on for weeks, with Netanyahu on Saturday night accusing private television channels 12 and 13 of “delivering propaganda for the anarchist Leftwing demonstrations” by providing extensive coverage of the rallies.

“They are desperately trying to brainwash the public, in order to bring down a strong prime minister from the Right,” his Likud party wrote in a post re-tweeted by Netanyahu on Twitter.

Netanyahu further accused the media of “ignoring the violent nature of the protests and the calls in them to murder the prime minister and his family”. (Source: The Straits Times)

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