The Times of Israel liveblogged Thursday’s events as they unfolded.
The White House announces that it has formally sent to the US Senate the nomination of former treasury secretary Jack Law to become the next US ambassador to Israel.
The Senate will now be tasked with scheduling a hearing for Lew to testify in front of lawmakers, though, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz has vowed to block the process due to the Biden administration’s Israel policies.
Lew is still expected to ultimately be confirmed in the coming months.
In the presence of US and Israeli officials, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas holds an event in Washington to mark Israel’s entry to the US Visa Waiver Program after a years-long push.
Speaking at the ceremony, Israeli Ambassador Michael Herzog recalls a meeting he held two years with Mayorkas during which the latter pledged that Israel would be admitted to the program.
“Two years later, he indeed honored his promise,” Herzog is quoted saying in a statement from the Israeli embassy.
According to the Hebrew-language statement, Mayorkas says the move “is an important recognition of our joint security interests and the close cooperation between our countries.”
Alongside the event in the US, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hosts a ceremony at his office in Jerusalem to celebrate Israel’s entry.
Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara announces she has closed a criminal case into far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir for pulling out a pistol during an altercation with Arab security guards at a Tel Aviv parking lot.
In a response to petitions against Ben Gvir’s appointment as a minister due to his past convictions, Baharav-Miara says she is closing the case because “the investigative material does not establish a reasonable chance” of convicting the ultranationalist politician for threatening the security guards.
While closing the probe, Baharav-Miara also says Ben Gvir “did not act as expected of any citizen, definitely not an elected official.”
The incident occurred in December 2021, when Ben Gvir was an opposition lawmaker.
Several hundred people attend a prayer service at Tel Aviv’s Habima Square featuring a protest action against the right-wing government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“We are here to show there is another kind of Judaism, an inclusive and tolerant one,” Galia Sadan, a Reform rabbi from Tel Aviv’s Beit Daniel congregation, says during the event.
The prayer, whose organizers said was for democracy and the State of Israel, is a response to a since-canceled rally announced by Public Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir following clashes between secularists and devout Jews at Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Square on Yom Kippur.
“We have reclaimed the Israeli flag and the Declaration of Independence,” Yaya Fink, a former Labor party activist and head of the left-leaning Darkenu lobby group, tells the crowd at Habima Square, referencing symbols of the protest movement against Netanyahu’s government.
“Now the time has come to liberate Judaism and reclaim it for all Jews instead of the radicals who claim it belongs only to them,” he adds.
Sadan says, “there is another kind of Judaism, based on human dignity and on de-mo-cracy,” repeating a slogan of anti-government protesters and prompting chants from many in the crowd. She then blows a shofar and recites a prayer for the State of Israel
WASHINGTON — Iranian naval forces repeatedly aimed a laser at an American military helicopter during a routine flight in international airspace over the Gulf, the US military says today.
The helicopter — an AH-1Z Viper — is attached to a unit deployed on the USS Bataan amphibious assault ship, which was sent to the region as part of American efforts to deter seizures of commercial tanker ships by Tehran.
Iranian “vessels shone a laser multiple times at the aircraft while in flight” on Wednesday, spokesman Commander Rick Chernitzer says in a statement.
“These are not the actions of a professional maritime force. This unsafe, unprofessional, and irresponsible behavior by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy risks US and partner nation lives and needs to cease immediately,” Chernitzer adds.
The US military says Iran has either seized or attempted to take control of nearly 20 internationally flagged ships in the region over the past two years.
There have been a series of such incidents since then-US president Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal and reimposed crippling sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
The Tel Aviv municipality has revoked Rosh Yehudi’s permits to hold Sukkot-related events in the coastal city during the upcoming Jewish holiday, after altercations broke out this week at a mass public prayer organized by the group for Yom Kippur.
According to city hall, the decision was made after a hearing on “the violation of the permit conditions… by placing a stage without the necessary permit and the use of physical barriers for gender separation, in opposition to the municipality’s policies.”
The municipality said that during the hearing, Rosh Yehuda denied staging a gender-segregated event on Yom Kippur “and did not express sorrow for its conduct or take responsibility for it.”
TEHRAN, Iran — A fire broke out today at a car battery factory owned by Iran’s defense ministry for the second time in less than a week, state media reports.
No one was injured in the blaze, which erupted in an area where plastic waste is stored, state TV says. Iranian news outlets circulate photos and video footage of a column of black smoke rising into the sky north of the capital, Tehran.
Iran’s regular military and its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard operate several factories across the country, many of which produce civilian goods.
Iran has seen a series of fires and other mishaps in its military facilities over the years, and often accuses its archenemy Israel of sabotage. Last month, Iran said Israel tried to sabotage its ballistic missile program through faulty foreign parts that could explode.
Iran has been under heavy Western sanctions for several years that prevent it from importing a range of machinery and replacement parts, forcing it to build its own or source them on the black market. That has likely made industrial mishaps more common.
Activists pour red dye inside the fountain at Dizengoff Square, a Tel Aviv landmark, to symbolize the victims of deadly crime in Arab towns and to protest the government’s perceived inaction over the violence.
The protest, organized by the Standing Together social justice group, comes after five family members were gunned down yesterday in the northern Bedouin village of Basmat Tab’un, one of the bloodiest mass shootings in a crime wave that has already claimed 188 lives this year.
“[Itamar] Ben Gvir did not come to Dizengoff Square today — but we did,” the group writes on its Instagram page, referencing the far-right security minister’s planned mass prayer at Dizengoff Square after clashes broke out there on Yom Kippur, which he later canceled under pressure.
“We colored the fountain red to remember the 188 victims since the beginning of the year. It is impossible to remain silent when the blood of the victims from crime in Arab society keeps on being spilled,” the post adds.
“Ben Gvir, asking for forgiveness will not be enough this time,” the activists continue, referencing the Yom Kippur custom of seeking atonement. “This blood was spilled under your watch.”
Images from the protest show a few dozen activists holding placards with photos and names of some of the victims.
The High Court of Justice hearing on the recusal law has come to an end.
It is not clear when the justices will issue a ruling, which is expected to address when the law should take effect and not whether the legislation should be struck down. The court has previously hinted it could delay the law’s implementation to the next Knesset to sidestep concerns the legislation was designed to protect Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who under a conflict of interest agreement is barred from dealing with judicial matters that could influence his trial on criminal charges.
Some of the court’s liberal justices made clear during the hearing that they feel the law is so highly personal as to be problematic, while some of the conservative judges said the legislation helps clarify a previously unclear legal situation and that its purpose could therefore be legitimate.
A bipartisan group of US senators has introduced legislation authorizing additional funding to the United States Security Coordinator in Jerusalem, which liaises between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
The bill is aimed at bolstering the post after the Pentagon moved to downgrade its rank last year to compensate for congressionally mandated budget cuts. The downgrade was prevented following a lobbying campaign led by the center-left Israel Policy Forum, which is backing the new legislation submitted by Senators Jon Ossoff (Democrat-Georgia), Todd Young (Republican-Indiana), James Lankford (Republican-Oklahoma) and Cory Booker (Democrat-New Jersey).
“The US Security Coordinator in Jerusalem plays a crucial role in protecting American interests and deescalating conflict in Israel and Palestinian territories,” says Ossoff in a statement. “With tensions rising in this area, these efforts are essential. That’s why I’m leading this bipartisan legislation to support US National Security and peace in the Middle East.”
“Strengthening this key diplomatic role is critical to the US-Israel relationship and our shared national security interests,” says Young. “Our bipartisan bill will promote stability in the Middle East and ensure robust American engagement in the region.”
If passed, the Middle East Security Coordination Act would be the first bipartisan bill on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the 2020 Middle East Partnership for Peace Act, which earmarked $250 million over at least five years to projects that support peacebuilding and Palestinian economic development.
A lawyer for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterates his argument that the premier cannot be ordered to recuse himself for violating his conflict of interest arrangement, but refuses to say how the deal should be enforced when pressed by the High Court.
“The prime minister sees himself as obligated to the conflict of interest arrangement,” Michael Rabello says.
As the High Court hearing resumes, the lawyer for Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara walks back his earlier remarks that a violation by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of his conflict of interest agreement is not grounds for recusal.
“You can’t rule out all the options in advance; it should not be understood that a conflict of interests over a criminal trial cannot lead to recusing the prime minister,” says Aner Helman.
Next up among the petitioners at today’s High Court of Justice hearing on the recusal law is lawyer Uri Haberman, who is representing MK Oded Forer of the opposition Yisrael Beytenu party.
Justice Noam Sohlberg questions whether Forer’s petition should be deliberated before the court, saying the Knesset member could have filed a bill to amend the law.
“Arguments like this… need to be raised in the Knesset, not here,” the judge says.
Haberman goes on to criticize the passage of the legislation as an amendment to one of Israel’s quasi-constitutional Basic Laws, none of which the court has ever struck down.
“We need to put an end to this,” he says regarding the alleged misuse of the Basic Laws, while urging that the law not take effect until the next Knesset.
The court is now recessing for 15 minutes.
Petitioner Eliad Shraga calls for the High Court to delay implementation of the recusal law “as long as [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] is in a conflict of interest,” seeming to suggest the legislation should not take effect until the conclusion of the premier’s corruption trial.
Justice Alex Stein warns such a move could result in a “legal fog” while Justice Yael Wilner also pushes back, questioning whether there should be a law that applies only to a specific individual.
“Is there a precedent for this?” she asks.
The head of the Movement for Quality Government in Israel, one of the petitioners against the recusal law, charges the legislation is part of an effort to create a “golden cage” in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can violate a conflict of interest arrangement that prohibits him from dealing with judicial matters that could impact his graft trial.
“Every time there is a potential of forcing the prime minister to comply with the conflict of interest arrangement, this potential is neutralized,” Eliad Shraga tells the High Court of Justice.
He also criticizes a law barring the judiciary from scrutinizing the “reasonableness” of government decisions, which is similarly being challenged at the High Court.
“All the legislation was created for the purpose of making a golden cage, so the prime minister can advance the regime coup, in violation of the conflict of interest arrangement,” Shraga says, referring to the government’s judicial overhaul.
Chief Justice Esther Hayut notes to Shraga that Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara does not share the petitioners’ stance that breaching the conflict of interest arrangement could lead to Netanyahu’s removal from office. He says opponents of the law therefore filed several petitions against it.
“We are not complaining that you do not file petitions,” Hayut responds in an apparent gibe at the litigious Shraga, while urging him to “get on with it.”
BERLIN — In their closed-door meeting, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and his German counterpart Boris Pistorius are expected to discuss Saudi Arabia, which is inching closer to signing a US-brokered normalization agreement with Israel.
Part of the deal is said to center on allowing Saudi Arabia to enrich uranium on its own soil, which has been loudly decried by Opposition Leader Yair Lapid but has met with relative silence by Israel’s security establishment.
Gallant said that “the Israeli security establishment will give a professional response” on the matter after consulting the Defense Ministry, the Mossad, Israel’s nuclear authority and the IDF chief of staff, among others. “When the answers will be clear, we will let the prime minister and cabinet know, and then the public,” Gallant adds.
“We know one thing, that normalization with Saudi Arabia is a blessed thing for Israel. But we will do everything to define the risk,” the defense minister said.
Several justices ask difficult questions of the attorney general’s representative, Aner Helman, in response to his assertion that the court should rule that the recusal law will only come into affect at a later stage. Helman argued that doing so will circumvent the personal manner in which the law was legislated for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s benefit, and thus make the law more legitimate.
“Let’s say we delay implementation — doesn’t this create an unclear situation in the period before it comes into effect [as to whether the prime minister can be ordered to recuse himself]?” asks Justice Anat Baron.
“We would need to use interpretative tools to decide the issue. Why is that a better situation?” adds Justice Yael Wilner.
“Maybe it is a good idea to advance the implementation of the law to avoid this uncertainty,” chimes in Justice Alex Stein.
Helman sticks to his guns, however, arguing that the personal aspect of the law is so egregious as to justify delaying implementation.
“There is a phenomenon now in which Basic Laws are passed for personal reasons. They [the Knesset] are turning the Basic Laws into modeling clay,” he contends.
BERLIN — Responding to reporters’ questions about the hearing on the recusal law currently taking place at the High Court of Justice, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant departs from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ambiguous position and reiterates he will follow any court order.
“I will respect the Israeli law and I will respect any decision of the Supreme Court as the defense minister,” Gallant says during a diplomatic visit to Berlin, where he is overseeing the signing of a letter of commitment to advance Israel’s sale of the Arrow 3 air defense system to Germany.
BERLIN — Israel and Germany sign a letter of commitment to move forward with delivering the Arrow 3 air defense system to Germany.
Signed by representatives for the Israeli and German defense ministries, the deal will release €560 million in funds approved by the German parliament in June, leading Israel to begin production and manufacture of the three Arrow 3 batteries expected to arrive on German soil by 2030. A spokesperson for the German Defense Ministry declines to confirm the number of batteries.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant hails the signed agreement as “a huge achievement for the defense industry,” moments after the letter of commitment is signed.
Gallant and his German counterpart Boris Pistorius, who are both at the defense ministry in Berlin to oversee the signing of the agreement, ink a separate declaration reinforcing the two countries’ defense cooperation.
The complete deal will come close to €4 billion, according to Israel Aerospace Industries chairman and CEO Boaz Levy, marking Israel’s largest-ever single defense contract.
A separate contract will be signed to complete the Arrow deal, after the German parliament is expected to approve the purchase in October.
The Arrow 3 system is designed to destroy space-borne projectiles before their reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere, including ballistic missiles and their warheads, and satellites. The US, which helped develop the system, approved the sale in August.
The missile defense system is expected to be part of the German-led European Sky Shield Initiative, aimed at beefing up continental Europe’s air defenses in response to Russian airstrikes in Ukraine.
Aner Helman, who is representing Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara at the hearing on the recusal law, tells the High Court that an attorney general cannot order a prime minister to step down.
“There is an impression in the public that the attorney general can recuse the prime minister, but this is not the case,” Helman says. “It is the government that determines that the prime minister is incapacitated from serving in his position and not the attorney general.”
“The role of the attorney general is to give their legal opinion on the issue,” he adds, noting members of the government consulted then-attorney general Meni Mazuz after prime minister Ariel Sharon went into coma after suffering a massive stroke in 2006, “but they didn’t have to.”
Helman also says Baharav-Miara does not believe that a violation by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of a conflict of interest agreement barring him from involvement in judicial matters due to his ongoing graft trial should lead to his recusal.
The High Court of Justice hearing on the recusal law has resumed after breaking for lunch.
Justice Anat Baron quotes remarks by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hours after the recusal law passed in March: “Until today my hands were tied. So tonight I announce to you, no more.” She says this indicates that the legislation was meant to personally allow him to violate a conflict of interest deal barring him from involving himself in judicial matters that could affect his corruption trial down the road.
Netanyahu’s lawyer Michael Rabello says this doesn’t mean the Knesset members intended for the law to pass only to personally benefit Netanyahu. He notes that the premier doesn’t head the Knesset and didn’t make the remark during the process — he said it after the Knesset process had ended.
Baron says, however, that the remarks indicate a direct connection between the legislation and Netanyahu’s personal fear of being ordered to step down.
After Rabello tries to claim Netanyahu was merely trying to be able to intervene in the public crisis over the overhaul in order to solve it, Justice Daphne Barak-Erez interjects: “So you’re saying it was personal, but in a good way?”
Chief Justice Esther Hayut notes that Netanyahu initially claimed he wasn’t bound by the 2020 conflict of interest agreement, a stance that has since been rejected.
After that, Hayut charges, if Netanyahu had a problem with the agreement and how it can be interpreted, he should have taken the matter directly to the High Court rather than passing a Basic Law amendment to eliminate the court’s power to evaluate whether the agreement is being adhered to.
Coalition whip Ofir Katz of the Likud party issues a statement appearing to respond to arguments by some of the High Court justices in the ongoing hearing on the prime minister recusal law.
Several justices have said the law is incomplete since it doesn’t specify its implementation date, opening the door to interpretation that could lead the court to rule that it only comes into effect in the next Knesset.
“As the initiator of the law bill and as the chair of the [Knesset House] Committee that conducted the legislation process, neither I nor my friends had a shred of a doubt that we were legislating an arrangement that would enter into effect immediately,” Katz tweets.
“There is no room for interpretation that goes against our explicit stance.”
Netanyahu’s lawyer Michael Rabello tells the High Court that the prime minister recusal law doesn’t “change the rules of the game mid-game,” since judicial officials ordering a premier to step down “isn’t part of the rules of the game in a democracy.”
“There needs to be balance between the branches of government, but this doesn’t mean we can cancel and trample the principle of rule of the majority,” he says.
He argues that the court doesn’t have the authority to set the implementation date of a quasi-constitutional Basic Law.
Michael Rabello, a private lawyer representing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the High Court hearing on petitions against the recusal law, tells judges that voiding or delaying the implementation of the legislation would “leave open the option of a head-on collision between the branches of government, the option of the trampling of the Knesset” by ordering the premier to recuse himself.
He says such a scenario would be “a cancellation of the election results.”
Justices respond that what’s on the line isn’t an annulment of the entire law, but only a delay in its application.
Chief Justice Esther Hayut says: “How does delaying the implementation of the recusal law cancel the elections?”
Rabello is representing Netanyahu after Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara refused to do so and argued against the government’s position.
Religious Zionism party leader Bezalel Smotrich, the finance minister, calls the High Court of Justice hearing on the recusal law “illegitimate.”
“The nation made its voice heard in the election, and unelected officials can’t negate the people’s choice,” he says in a statement. “Judges can’t cancel a Basic Law and definitely not invent a power for themselves or the attorney general to oust an elected prime minister.
“This is the truth, and all the rest is a bad and invalid show.”
Knesset attorney Yitzhak Bart says the purpose of the law isn’t to allow prime ministers to act in conflict of interest, calling this a “harsh conclusion.”
He says the premier’s duty to refrain from conflicts of interest doesn’t stem from Basic Law: The Government, which the recusal law is an amendment to.
One of the justices says this line of argument “has no chance of success.”
Chief Justice Esther Hayut says what’s on the line isn’t the potential voiding of the law: “The injunction [the court issued] doesn’t talk about abolishing the law, the lacuna in the law has been filled. No one issued an injunction against the entire law, we’re only talking about when the law should be implemented.”
Justice Ofer Grosskopf adds: “The question is whether a government that changes the conditions that apply to it while it is serving is changing the rules of the game.”
Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report.
High Court justices challenge Knesset lawyer Yitzhak Bart’s attempt to differentiate between the lawmakers’ motives for passing the prime minister recusal law and the purpose the law ends up serving.
Bart notes that the motives concern the past — the specific circumstances in which the law was passed, which indeed have a personal nature in shielding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from possibly being forced to step down — while the purpose concerns the future and transcends the motives.
Justice Yitzhak Amit responds: “When the law is colored from head to foot in a motive, the question is does this not influence the purpose of the law?”
Justice Ofer Grosskopf says: “The motives can affect the purpose. The purpose of the law was to revoke the possibility of ordering a prime minister to recuse himself due to violating a conflict of interest agreement, which is relevant to the current situation.”
Justice Daphne Barak-Erez adds: “What you’re saying is that there can never be personal legislation as long as there is a clause which applies in the future. So, according to you, there’s no such thing as personal legislation.”
Yitzhak Bart, an attorney representing the Knesset in the High Court of Justice hearing on the prime minister recusal law, admits that “one of the main motives” for passing the legislation was to personally serve Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s interests and shield him from removal based on a conflict of interest agreement.
But he argues that what is more important and should form the basis of the discussion is the purpose of the law — distinct from the motives for passing it — which is general and transcends the motives that led the lawmakers to pass it.
He also says the motives of each of the MKs who voted in favor of the legislation can’t be learned from isolated sentences said by individual lawmakers during Knesset committee meetings. He says the “personal” nature of the law wasn’t necessarily meant to benefit Netanyahu as an individual, but rather as the head of the government the lawmakers took a part in forming.
Justice Ofer Grosskopf responds: “If the purpose [of the legislation] is to protect and give immunity to a government, does this not create a clash with the purpose of constituent authority?”
Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report.
The High Court of Justice hearing on the prime minister recusal law is underway in Jerusalem.
Here is a livestream of the Hebrew-language discussion:
Leaders of protests against the government’s judicial overhaul liken Justice Minister Yariv Levin to a mob lawyer due to his comments against the High Court of Justice ahead of today’s key hearing on the prime minister recusal law.
“Levin is continuing to behave like an attorney for the Sicilian mafia and is sending threats toward the court as the discussion begins,” they say in a statement. “Such mafialike conduct happens only in a dictatorship.
“The man leading a dangerous leadership coup that is crushing the State of Israel already knows that millions will show up to defend the court and the gatekeepers [of democracy] in the face of his actions.”
Religious Zionism MK Simcha Rothman assails the High Court of Justice for agreeing to even discuss the potential voiding of the government’s recusal law.
“The very existence of such a discussion in a democratic state is a very extreme act. It’s like the government holding a discussion on canceling elections,” Rothman asserts in an interview with Army Radio.
The law shields prime ministers from being forced by the court or by the attorney general to step down, and is widely seen as designed to shield Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from facing such a sanction for violating a conflict of interest agreement he signed in 2020 that allowed him to serve as premier while on trial for corruption charges. Under that deal, Netanyahu committed not to involve himself in judicial matters that could affect his ongoing trial.
Justice Minister Yariv Levin argues in a statement that today’s High Court hearing on petitions against the government’s recusal law “is de facto a discussion of whether to cancel the election results.”
The law shields prime ministers from being forced by the court or by the attorney general to step down, and is widely seen as designed to shield Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from facing such a sanction for violating a conflict of interest agreement he signed in 2020 to allow him to serve as premier while on trial for corruption charges. Under that deal, Netanyahu committed not to involve himself in judicial matters that could affect his ongoing trial.
In his statement, Levin also dismisses a proposal made by the court to delay the implementation date of the law to the next Knesset to avoid the apparent personal nature of the law.
“The meaning of delaying the implementation of the recusal law is that an unelected official… would be able to hand themselves powers that they were never given, and discuss the delusional option of ordering a prime minister to recuse himself, in total contrast with the election results,” Levin says.
“The result of this would be that Israel will no longer be a democracy, instead being ruled by people who placed themselves above the people, above the voters’ choice in the ballot box.”
Hundreds of anti-government protesters demonstrate near Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s home on Gaza Street in Jerusalem ahead of today’s key High Court of Justice hearing on petitions against the coalition’s recusal law, which shields prime ministers from being forced by the court or by the attorney general to step down.
The controversial law — an amendment to a quasi-constitutional Basic Law — is widely seen as designed, among other things, to protect Netanyahu from the consequences of a conflict of interest agreement he signed in 2020 that allowed him to serve as premier while on trial for corruption charges. Under that deal, Netanyahu committed not to involve himself in judicial matters that could affect his ongoing trial.
The current government has been pushing through a comprehensive overhaul of the judiciary and Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara has declared Netanyahu to be in violation of the deal, though she has said she isn’t considering ordering the premier to recuse himself.
The anti-Netanyahu activists from the Brothers and Sisters in Arms group arrive with cardboard boxes with the slogan “Pack, Sara, Levin is moving in” — implying that Netanyahu and his wife Sara will soon be ousted from the prime minister’s residence and that Justice Minister Yariv Levin will replace them.
The activists demand that Netanyahu “show leadership and cancel the judicial coup so that the chaos will stop and Israel will get back on track.”
Police deploy a large number of officers to the scene, including mounted officers and a water cannon.
Four protesters have been arrested for trespassing and disturbing the peace after climbing over a fence into the property of a building adjacent to the prime minister’s residence.
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