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Prominent activist injured in clashes at anti-Netanyahu rally

Asaf Agmon, a retired Air Force general, is hospitalized in Jerusalem; police, demonstrators trade blame for incident

Demonstrators scuffle with police during a protest against Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside the PM's official residence in Jerusalem, February 6, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Demonstrators scuffle with police during a protest against Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside the PM's official residence in Jerusalem, February 6, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A prominent activist was injured in clashes with police on Saturday, as hundreds of protesters gathered outside the official residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday night, demanding his resignation.

Asaf Agmon, 73, a former brigadier general in the Israel Air Force, was hospitalized at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center with a chest injury after being struck with a metal barricade, according to Channel 12.

There were conflicting accounts on how Agmon was hurt, with police saying he was part of a group that was acting violently and tried to breach a barricade, and activists saying he was making his way home from the rally and was caught in the clashes, according to the network.

The protesters have been gathering each week in central Jerusalem for over seven months, saying Netanyahu should step down because of his corruption trial and what they say is mismanagement of the country’s coronavirus crisis.

The protesters say Netanyahu cannot serve as prime minister when he is on trial for charges of fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in three separate cases. His trial is set to resume this week.

They also blame him for damage to the economy, with unemployment in double digits after a series of nationwide lockdowns.

The country on Sunday is to begin easing its third nationwide lockdown. But most restrictions will remain in place, with coronavirus infections continuing to soar despite one of the world’s most successful vaccination campaigns.

Israel is preparing to hold new elections March 23.

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