Thousands of Israelis have rallied outside the official residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling on him to step down as he faces a trial on corruption charges and growing criticism over the government’s handling of a deepening coronavirus crisis.
Netanyahu has seen his popularity drop in recent weeks as a loose-knit movement held a number of demonstrations saying he is unfit to lead at a time when he is on trial. Others have rallied to protest against a worsening economic crisis caused by the coronavirus.
The demonstration in Jerusalem on Tuesday evening was led by anti-corruption activists who refer to Netanyahu as the “crime minister”.
Many held posters with slogans such as “You are detached. We are fed up,” or “Netanyahu’s corruption makes us sick” and “Netanyahu, resign”.
Towards the end of the demonstration, there were small scuffles between police and some protesters. Late on Tuesday, several hundred protesters marched through central Jerusalem, some blocking the city’s light rail.
Police said protesters threw stones and eggs and vandalised shops. Eight people were arrested.
Netanyahu was indicted in January for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three cases. In May, he forged a new coalition government after more than a year of political turmoil and insisted the charges were trumped up to drive him from office.
The next trial date at Jerusalem district court is set for July 19.