Protestors calling for the ouster of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu marched in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem on Saturday night. At certain points, the demonstrations turned into riots, during which the police arrested some 30 people.
In Tel Aviv, protestors marched from the beach to the Habima square in the center of the city. They blocked roads, clashed with the police while throwing objects at them, attempted to break through the perimeter set by the police, and sprayed officers with pepper spray. Some set trashcans on fire.
At least 13 rioters were arrested.
In Jerusalem, a demonstration that began in front of the Prime Minister’s official residence fanned out to the city center. The police pushed them back while arresting 15 of the rioters. A Palestinian flag that was flown was taken down by police. The police used water cannons against the crowds.
At both protests, many protesters were blowing small horns and whistles while standing directly in front of the police and other protesters, which is a potentially high risk behavior for spreading the Coronavirus to the crowd and the police.
The demonstrators had a mixture of messages, including charges that Netanyahu was harming Israel’s democracy, that he was on trial for criminal charges and therefore should step down, and that he had failed in his leadership during the Coronavirus crisis.
The Black Flags movement, which organized the events, stated that “the scenes we are seeing across the country are the result of a dysfunctional government and the results are disastrous. The economic catastrophe that this government is creating poses an existential threat to the State of Israel as we know it.”
“The government is busy with public relations and distributing bribes instead of addressing the underlying issues. The citizens of the country deserve a functioning prime minister who is only concerned with the problems of the citizens and not with survival,” the movement added.
Several of those arrested were brought before a judge on Sunday morning for a hearing on their remand or a release under restrictive conditions.
Saturday’s riots were the latest in several such events that took place in recent days in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and the demonstrations’ organizers have vowed to continue with their campaign to unseat Netanyahu.