Weekly nationwide anti-government protests kick off, with calls for early elections, hostage deal

Cnaan Lidor is The Times of Israel's Jewish World reporter

Demonstrators covered in red paint perform an art display titled "Am Israel Die," a word play on the Hebrew language slogan associated with with war on Hamas, which means "the People of Israel lives," at Tel Aviv's Democracy Square, June 22, 2024. (sha_b_p@/Pro-Democracy Protest Movement)
Demonstrators covered in red paint perform an art display titled "Am Israel Die," a word play on the Hebrew language slogan associated with with war on Hamas, which means "the People of Israel lives," at Tel Aviv's Democracy Square, June 22, 2024. (sha_b_p@/Pro-Democracy Protest Movement)

Three protesters lie motionless on Tel Aviv’s Democracy Square near Kaplan Street.

Surrounded by a red-and-white crime scene line, they are covered in red paint. They are performing an art display titled “Am Israel Die,” a word play on the Hebrew language slogan associated with war on Hamas, which means “the People of Israel lives.”

The display is part of the weekly protests against the government, which take place in dozens of locales across Israel, including Mitzpe Ramon in the Negev, Haifa, and Amiad Junction in the north.

The main protests are in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, where thousands attend each Saturday night. The protesters demand early elections, and, increasingly, an end to the eight-month fighting with Hamas.

Separately, the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, which represents some relatives of hostages in Gaza, is holding its weekly rally on Hostages Square in Tel Aviv. The rally calls for an immediate deal to free the hostages, which Hamas says will only be released if the fighting stops, among other demands.

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