A Thousand Attend anti-Netanyahu Protest in Jerusalem for Fourth Time This Week

Demonstrations have been met with an increasingly forceful police response ■ Hundreds of counter-protesters gather nearby, following a call by Netanyahu's party

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Protesters gathered outside of Netanyahu's official residence, June 24, 2020.
Protesters gathered outside of Netanyahu's official residence, June 24, 2020.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

Some thousand protesters gather Friday evening outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's official residence in Jerusalem, calling for his resignation over his corruption charges and what they call a mismanagement of the coronavirus crisis and assault on democracy.

This demonsttration is the fourth one against Netanyahu this week, and the seventh in the past ten days.

On Thursday night, police arrested 55 demonstrators, most of whom were released Friday morning with restraining orders, barring them from Jersualem for a period of up to 10 days. This is the largest number of protesters arrested at a single anti-Netanyahu rally since the demonstrations kicked off several weeks ago.

Nearly 20 other protesters will be brought before a Jerusalem judge on Friday after refusing to agree to limitations on their movement.

In response to the growing protest movement, new fences and roadblocks were erected Friday around Netanyahu's private home in the northern-Israeli town of Caesarea, despite the fact that the protests have centered on the prime minister's official residence in Jerusalem.

Police said some 4,000 people took part in Thursday's protest, adding that about 1,000 demonstrators remained at Paris Square by the Prime Minister's Residence on Balfour Street after the protest ended. 

Police started to forcefully break up the protest at around 10:30 P.M. At midnight, violent clashes erupted between the police and hundreds of demonstrators who refused to leave the square. Those remaining planned to march toward the city center, but police officers used water cannons to prevent them from doing so, prompting the crowd to disperse.

Police said in a statement that protesters were arrested on suspicion of causing public disturbance, as well as assaulting police officers and other demonstrators.

Protesters gathered outside of Netanyahu's official residence, June 24, 2020.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

The protests started last month and as they grew and turned into marches on the center of the city, the police response also became increasingly forceful, with law enforcement deploying riot control units, as well as mounted units and water cannons.

More than 100 people were arrested in the last week and a half, most of them released with restraining orders preventing them from returning to the area. 

Several groups are organizing attendance for the protests, which are mirrored by smaller gatherings in other cities and on bridges and junctions over major highways throughout the country.

But they are largely decentralized and have spontaneously combusted into a mass movement, which has made law enforcement increasingly brazen in its attempt to gather information. Several people attending protests reported attempts by police officers to recruit them as informant in the last week.

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