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Police say calls on social media to harm officers at anti-Netanyahu rally; organizers reject claim

Ahead of the weekly anti-Netanyahu rally outside the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, police say there have been calls on social media for clashes with officers during the protest.

“The Israel Police is aware of various calls on social media by extremists to come and clash with police forces and turn the protest into a riot, and physically harm officers,” police say in a statement quoted by Channel 12 news. “We call on those participating in the protest to refrain from displays of violence and provocation.”

The Black Flag protest group dismisses the police statement and as “ridiculous” and accuses the Jerusalem police force of not withstanding pressure from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Public Security Minister Amir Ohana.

“We’re here to clarify that there are no extremist voices calling [for people] to harm officers or riot. There are voices calling for the removal of Netanyahu as prime minister. The Israel Police should start defending the protesters and not the corrupt,” the group says.

Protesters gather near the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem for a rally against Benjamin Netanyahu, August 29, 2020 (Ynet screenshot)

Some demonstrators have already began gathering at the Prime Minister’s Residence and smaller protests against Netanyahu are being held at highway overpasses and junctions across Israel.

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