1,500 Rally in Central Israel Against Corruption

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Protesters in Goren Square in Petah Tikva, August 26, 2017.
Protesters in Goren Square in Petah Tikva, August 26, 2017.Credit: Ofer Vaknin

Around a 1,500 people protested against government corruption on Saturday night in the central Israeli city Petah Tikva, near the home of Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit.

The main demonstration at Goren Square was restricted to 500 people by a High Court of Justice ruling on Thursday. Police barred additional protesters from entering the square. Hundreds who remained outside the demonstration site gathered in nearby squares. 

Similar events were simultaneously held in 17 other cities across the country.

Rallies protesting the attorney general's handling of the investigations into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been held in Petah Tikva for some 40 consecutive weeks. 

Meni Naftali, former chief caretaker of the prime minister’s residence and one of the organizers of the protest, said of the police actions: “They penned us up here like sheep. If this was a right-wing protest, they would have gotten rid of the barriers. We obey the law.”

Meanwhile, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said Saturday night on Channel 2’s “Meet the Press” that the arrest of Naftali and fellow protest-organizer Eldad Yaniv last week was a mistake in judgment by the police. The police said they had arrested Naftali and Eldad  on their way to last week’s demonstration, because they were endangering public security.

In restricting the number of protesters in Petah Tikva, the High Court accepted all of the police’s demands. A final ruling on the matter is pending. Nevertheless, the court rejected the police claim that the demonstrations required a permit.

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