An estimated 3,000 people gathered on Saturday night near the home of Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit in the central Israeli city of Petah Tikva, to protest his handling of the investigations of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It was the 38th consecutive week of such protests, with similar ones in other Israeli communities.
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For the second week, Likud voters held a counterdemonstration, whose 100 estimated participants included coalition chairman MK David Bitan.
The head of a residents’ committee in the Kfar Ganim neighborhood of Petah Tikva, where the weekly protests are held, has petitioned the High Court of Justice demanding that it end the demonstrations. The Court refused to block this Saturday’s protest and gave the Israel Police until Wednesday to submit a response.
Petitioners say the protests are a disruption and violate their property rights.
The High Court previously instructed organizers of the demonstrations to hold them at a remove from Mendelblit’s home so as not to put undue pressure on him. The court rejected a police request to completely ban demonstrations against the attorney general in Petah Tikva.
Bitan said the protests constituted “unconstitutional and undemocratic pressure on the attorney general,” saying that if Likud supporters “demonstrated for 40 weeks, we’d be arrested for obstructing justice.”
The coalition chairman attributed the relatively thin turnout for the counterdemonstration to the fact that most Likud members observe the Jewish Sabbath.