Thousands of demonstrators gathered at Habima Square in Tel Aviv on Saturday night, demanding that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu step down on account of his recent indictment.
The demonstration, under the slogan “Resign, the country is more important," was organized by the non-profit "Movement for Quality Government." Protesters carried signs saying “A strong democracy means a strong Israel” and “We’re drowning in filth” [rhymes in Hebrew], shouting “Bibi go home."
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Shuki Vanna, a veteran anti-Netanyahu demonstrator who attended the weekly demonstrations against corruption in Petah Tikva over the last three years, was carrying an Israel flag as well as two black ones, representing the “immunity law” and a proposed law designed to enable the Knesset to override court rulings. “There are currently two black flags flying over Israeli democracy”, he said. Regarding the cessation of the weekly demonstrations in Petah Tikva, Vanna said that these protests were held in order to urge Attorney General Mandelblit to make his decision and not drag his feet. But now, the decision has been made.
Carmit Peleg, a pro-Netanyahu demonstrator from Tel Aviv, held placards denouncing the State Prosecution and police investigators, thus protesting the protesters from the edge of the square. These placards were handed out at a right-wing demonstration earlier this week. “The state is important to me, and my hair stands on end in light of the conduct of Mandelblit and state attorneys. He’s supposed to search for justice and not whitewash” she said. She said that she could see she was in a minority there, with most demonstrators opposing Netanyahu. “If they’re not worried by what they hear about all the corruption, they’ve been brainwashed and that scares me even more.”
Last week, two days after the charges against Netanyahu were published, there was another demonstration at Habima Square, organized by the Democratic Union. About 1,500 people showed up then. MKs Stav Shaffir and Esawi Freige (Democratic Union) gave speeches and called on Netanyahu to resign. A similar protest was held in Petah Tikva, while Netanyahu supporters demonstrated near his residence in Jerusalem.