Israelis Block Entrance to Parliament After Night of Protests Against Netanyahu


After a night of protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government, dozens of Israeli demonstrators chained themselves together and briefly blocked the entrance to parliament on Wednesday morning.

Police arrested four and broke up the gathering, which was called to protest an upcoming vote to grant the government sweeping authority to bypass parliament in enacting measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Protests outside Netanyahu’s residence have become a weekly occurrence. Last month, police arrested a retired Israeli air force general, setting off an uproar.

The protests have since grown more defiant. In the past week, thousands of Israelis have participated in some of the largest demonstrations in nearly a decade against the long-time prime minister.

On Tuesday night, a large coalition of protest groups combined to march through the streets of Jerusalem from Netanyahu’s official residence to the Knesset, Israel’s parliament.

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They beat drums, banged on pots and blared on trumpets while calling for the prime minister’s resignation and holding banners reading, “the Israeli spring is here.”

Police said they arrested 34 people who were involved in the disturbances.

Netanyahu is on trial for a series of cases in which he allegedly received lavish gifts from friends and traded regulatory favors with media moguls for more favorable coverage of himself and his family.

The prime minister has denied any wrongdoing — accusing the media and law enforcement of a witch hunt to oust him from office — and has refused to step down.

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Critics of the Netanyahu government’s response to the pandemic say it has provided little assistance to Israelis and has offered no safety net for hundreds of thousands of self-employed workers and business owners. The government has also been accused of issuing contradictory guidelines.

An economic aid plan announced by Netanyahu last week, which would see hundreds of dollars handed out to every Israeli household, has hit a snag in parliament.

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