Thousands demonstrated last night (Sunday) in about 250 centers across the country against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government’s conduct in the Corona crisis. The main focus was near Netanyahu’s official residence on Balfour Street in Jerusalem, where more than 10,000 people gathered, chanting slogans and waving signs condemning the government and its leader. The demonstrators held a procession in the streets near the residence, and marched from Paris Square to King George, Hillel, Menashe Ben Israel and Agron streets – and back to Paris Square. The demonstration lasted until the wee hours of the night, until the police decided to evacuate the protesters by force, which led to the arrest of 12 protesters. Due to past attempts by Netanyahu supporters to harm the protesters, the police have allocated large forces to the protest centers.
Demonstrations also took place tonight near Netanyahu’s private residence in Caesarea, and in the Charles Clore Park in Tel Aviv there was a protest by the self-employed and the unemployed who shouted “bread, work” and “they are cut off.” Cultural figures also spoke at the protest in Tel Aviv. In addition, thousands of “black flags” demonstrated at dozens of intersections across the country.
During a demonstration in Balfour, a handful of protesters remained in the protest compound, after police repeatedly called for them to disperse on their own, and began violating public order. The commander of the Zion area in the police, Lt. Gen. Ofer Shomer, said after the demonstration was dispersed: “Most of the demonstrators finished the protest in a beautiful, orderly and respectful manner, and I want to praise them for exemplary behavior. Nearly 10,000 people behaved exemplary, finished their protest and left “A small number of protesters, literally a handful of up to 200 people, remained in place and refused to evacuate. We allowed them to stay almost until 2am at night, we announced and warned, and in the end we had to use reasonable force to disperse them.”
“I’m glad the big protest ended in an orderly fashion,” Schumer added. “It is important to emphasize – the police did a process of dialogue, there were people here with good will. We proved that with proper dialogue it is possible to demonstrate and protest in an orderly manner and there is no problem with that. It is very important for the police to allow freedom of protest and secure protesters.”
At the same time, dozens of people demonstrated in Tel Aviv in front of the home of Supreme Court President Esther Hayut, in protest of the rejection of the petition of Rehavia residents against the demonstrations in front of the prime minister’s residence. The demonstration was organized by the If You Will movement and the front for the liberation of South Tel Aviv, headed by social activist Shefi Paz. The demonstrators, who were equipped with trumpets and drums, call “Din Tzahala Kadin Rehavia.” Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Friday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck. Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Friday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck.