Protesters call on Netanyahu to step down

·1-min read

Hundreds of protesters have gathered outside the official residence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, demanding his resignation.

The protesters have been gathering each week in central Jerusalem for over seven months, saying Netanyahu should step down because of his corruption trial and what they say is mismanagement of the country's coronavirus crisis.

The protesters say Netanyahu cannot serve as prime minister when he is on trial for charges of fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in three separate cases.

His trial is set to resume this week.

They also blame him for damage to the economy, with unemployment in double digits after a series of nationwide lockdowns.

The country on Sunday is to begin easing its third nationwide lockdown.

However most restrictions will remain, with coronavirus infections continuing to soar despite one of the world's most successful vaccination campaigns.

Israel is preparing to hold new elections on March 23.

Meanwhile, thousands of citizens demonstrated in the northern town of Tamra on Saturday to protest a rising crime wave and what is seen as poor police protection in Israel's Arab community.

The action came in the wake of the death of a 22-year-old passerby killed in a shootout between police and criminals after walking out of his home.

Protesters held white flags stained with blood and raised banners calling for ending the widespread crime. Many accuse police of failing to contain criminal gangs and other violence.

The protest closed a major highway for several hours before the demonstration ended in the late afternoon, police said.

Thousands of people attended the funeral this week of nursing student Ahmad Hejazi, the 22-year-old killed in the shootout.

with DPA