Dozens of Israelis arrested during anti-Netanyahu protest | Middle East

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For six months, weekly protests against the Israeli prime minister called on him to resign following a corruption trial.

At least 30 people have been arrested during protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli media reported.

Police said on Saturday thousands of protesters gathered in Paris Square near Netanyahu’s residence in West Jerusalem and caused road closures and public unrest.

Protesters have been rallying weekly for the past six months, saying Netanyahu should step down due to his corruption trial and what they say is mismanagement of the coronavirus crisis in the country.

Netanyahu, who faces charges of corruption, breach of trust and fraud, has denied any wrongdoing.

According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Saturday’s protest was the largest in weeks and took place ahead of a court hearing on Netanyahu’s request to dismiss his bribery cases scheduled for Sunday.

Israeli security forces clash with protesters during protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside his official residence in West Jerusalem

The protests began last spring when Netanyahu and his main rival, Benny Gantz, agreed to form what they called an emergency government focused on managing the health and economic challenges arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

Their partnership has been crippled by infighting, and a pair of lockdowns have hit the economy hard, pushing double-digit unemployment up.

This week, Gantz, who is Netanyahu’s defense minister, joined the opposition in approving a preliminary measure to dissolve parliament and force new elections – the fourth in less than two years.

Gantz cited the government’s failure to approve a budget, which must be approved by December 23. Failure to do so would automatically lead to the collapse of the struggling coalition and trigger an early election.

A final vote to dissolve parliament could take place as early as next week.


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