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Latest Saturday protests mark 6 months of anti-Netanyahu rallies

Along with main demonstration outside PM’s residence in Jerusalem, protesters also gather outside Ramat Gan hospital where the premier is vaccinated on live TV

Protesters against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, on December 5, 2020 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Protesters against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, on December 5, 2020 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Anti-Netanyahu protests were held Saturday evening across Israel, six months after the start of weekly mass demonstrations against the premier.

The protesters, rallying for the 26th straight week, are calling for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s resignation over his indictment on graft charges and handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

In Jerusalem some 1,000 protesters marched from the Chords Bridge at the main entrance to the city to Paris Square, next to the Prime Minister’s Residence.

Along with the main demonstration outside the Prime Minister’s Residence, protests were held at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv and outside Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, where Netanyahu received Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on live television Saturday evening, the first Israeli to be vaccinated.

Smaller rallies also took place at highway overpasses and junctions around the country, as well as outside the Rosh Ha’ayin home of Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Netanyahu’s coalition partner.

As Netanyahu was being vaccinated, some 300 people protested outside the hospital.

“The guy’s come to get vaccinated as if he’s going to be our salvation,” one protester told Channel 12. “He’s come here to do his show, his spin… the personal example of a [man] suspected of briber, criminality and breach of trust is pathetic and unneeded.”

Earlier, the Black Flags protest group said in a statement: “In the last six months we’ve gone through two lockdowns and are on the way to a third only because the defendant is busy 24/7 with his trial, tax breaks for himself and petty politics. This won’t change. Gantz must choose: The good of the country or what’s good for him personally.”

Demonstrators have been holding regular protests for months against Netanyahu, demanding he resign over his trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. They have also criticized his government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Netanyahu denies wrongdoing and claims the indictments are part of an effort by political rivals, the media, police and prosecutors to remove him from office.

Recent weeks have seen numbers at the nation-wide rallies dwindle, though a rally in Jerusalem two weeks ago was reported to be considerably larger than those of other recent weeks.

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