Hundreds of Israelis protested Friday outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official residence in Jerusalem, with police arresting eight demonstrators, including a former general, for alleged disorderly conduct.
The demonstration was part of the ongoing “black flag” anti-corruption protests against Netanyahu, who is standing trial in a series of graft cases.
Video and photos from the protest showed demonstrators sitting in the middle of Azza Street outside the Prime Minister’s Residence, some of whom were picked up and removed by police. It was unclear from the images whether they had been ordered to clear the road.
Seven protesters were arrested on suspicion of disturbing public order and other unspecified offenses, according to the Haaretz daily.
Among those arrested was Amir Haskel, a former brigadier general in the Israeli Air Force and one of the organizers of the demonstration. Haskel, 66, had a 32-year career in the Air Force, including as a pilot in the 1973 war and head of IAF personnel.
A number of the demonstrators were highly critical of the police over the arrests.
“Amir spoke at the protest. It was a patriotic speech and immediately after, a few police officers pounced on him, put him in a patrol car and took him,” Hanna Yablonka of Givatayim told the Ynet news site.”I go to a lot of protests but I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. It appeared as if this was a major criminal and not a pilot in the air force.”
Opponents and supporters of Netanyahu have held a number of recent demonstrations outside his official residence, including for dueling rallies in May on the day his corruption trial began.
Netanyahu faces charges of fraud and breach of trust in three separate cases, as well as bribery in one of them.
He has denied wrongdoing and claimed the charges are part of an effort by political opponents, the media, law enforcement and prosecutors to remove him from office.