WEST BANK (Dispatches) – In one of the largest turnouts in weeks of protests, at least 10,000 people have protested in al-Quds, calling on Zionist prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign over corruption charges and the mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Demonstrators gathered at al-Quds’ Paris Square, near Netanyahu’s official residence, and began marching through the city center.
They were packed, in some places shoulder to shoulder, entirely filling the areas barricaded off by the police.
Similar but smaller anti-Netanyahu protests were also held at Charles Clore Park in Tel Aviv, near the premier’s private home in the coastal city of Caesarea, and elsewhere across the occupied territories.
Blowing loud horns, the al-Quds demonstrators chanted slogans such as "Crime Minister” and "Bibi Go Home”, accusing Netanyahu of being out of touch with the public.
Shai Sharfberg, a 31-year-old archaeology student, said that he had decided to join the protests recently and that he just wanted Netanyahu to act like other prime ministers under suspicion of corruption.
"Yitzhak Rabin resigned. Bibi called for Olmert to resign. He should do the same,” Sharfberg said, adding that Netanyahu seems too busy dealing with his criminal cases to run the Zionist regime.
The al-Quds protest went on until after midnight, when police forces forcibly dispersed the crowd that remained outside the prime minister’s residence.
The demonstrators chanted "scum” at police officers who were dragging away those blocking the road.
Police say they made arrests during the dispersal, which was done manually, without water cannons.
In previous rallies, the police was accused of using excessive force against peaceful protesters, deploying riot control units, as well as undercover officers, mounted units and water cannons.
In Caesarea, hundreds of people gathered outside Netanyahu’s private residence, alongside heavy police presence.
In Tel Aviv, the protesters denounced the regime’s failure to manage the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.
Yafa Ben Porat, 83, said that it was her first time protesting "because all week I’ve been hurting because of the Knesset and the things they’re doing. This week I’ve had it up to here. They’re liars, they’re cheats, Bibi has an empire in Caesarea, everyone needs to get up and go protest ... We should be getting the money, not the parasites.”
Reports say the rallies against Netanyahu are the largest the occupied territories have seen since 2011 protests against the high cost of living in the occupied territories.