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Dwindling protests: Hundreds rally against Netanyahu, his government

Demonstrations held in several locations around Tel Aviv, other cities to protest handling of pandemic, corruption charges against PM

A man dressed as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in chains and a prison uniform standing in front of an inflatable submarine at a march between the Tel Aviv suburbs of Ramat Gan and Givatayim Thursday, December 4, 2020. (Screengrab: Twitter)
A man dressed as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in chains and a prison uniform standing in front of an inflatable submarine at a march between the Tel Aviv suburbs of Ramat Gan and Givatayim Thursday, December 4, 2020. (Screengrab: Twitter)

Protesters rallied in various locations throughout the country Thursday evening against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government for the 24th straight week, demanding his resignation, but with numbers appearing to dwindle.

Demonstrators gathered at city squares and bridges as well as organize into small marches in a number of cities throughout the country. However, protests were smaller than in recent weeks, possibly due to the cold weather, even as Israel appears to be again heading toward elections.

Some recent protests, especially ones on Saturday nights, have drawn tens of thousands of demonstrators.

In Tel Aviv, dozens of protesters marched from Habima Square northward into the city chanting slogans against Netanyahu and carrying flags. Many carried inflatable submarines, a reference to the so-called submarine affair that has implicated several close associates of Netanyahu.

Protesters were stopped on Ibn Gabirol boulevard with one person taken in for questioning and quickly released, according to the Haaretz daily.

In a separate protest, around 200 people marched down the nearby Rothschild Boulevard in the city in protest of the government’s response to the coronavirus crisis.

Around 150 protesters also marched between the Tel Aviv suburbs of Ramat Gan and Givatayim in protests of the government’s response to the coronavirus epidemic.

Before the march, organizers said the government was failing and that “we are paying the price. Small businesses are collapsing and closing down, and the country is operating without an official budget. Our children have become zombies with no academic future, and even before we finished the second lockdown they are talking about a third one.”

In the northern town of Yokne’am, more than 200 protesters also took to the streets along with cars also carrying submarines.

The protesters oppose Netanyahu serving as prime minister while under indictment on charges of fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in a series of scandals involving billionaire associates and media moguls. Netanyahu denies wrongdoing.

Many also criticize the prime minister for what they say is his bungling of the coronavirus outbreak and its economic fallout.

The protests have gone on for months and kept a spotlight on Netanyahu at a time when the long-serving leader’s popularity has declined because of his handling of the virus outbreak.

The country is emerging in gradual stages from a second national lockdown that the government imposed in September to tamp down infections. Restrictions still in place have kept event halls, culture venues, hotels and restaurants closed while the economy continues to take a hit.

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