Jerusalem protest against Netanyahu results in dozens of arrests

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Jerusalem protest against Netanyahu results in dozens of arrests

Dozens of protesters opposing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were arrested in Israel late Thursday and early Friday as they clashed with police.

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Dozens of protesters opposing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were arrested in Israel late Thursday and early Friday as they clashed with police.

Protesters have been holding demonstrations for weeks, calling for Netanyahu to resign over corruption charges and his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

At least 55 people were arrested in central Jerusalem on Thursday as police used water cannons to disperse the large crowd.

The protest near the prime minister’s residence was thousands strong — but the crowd included some Netanyahu supporters as well.

Although the protest was initially peaceful, tensions heightened after police ordered demonstrators to disperse at 11 p.m., citing the sound ordinance law, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Israeli police officers arrest a demonstrator during a protest against Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside his residence in Jerusalem, early Friday, July 24, 2020. (Associated Press)

Israeli police officers arrest a demonstrator during a protest against Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside his residence in Jerusalem, early Friday, July 24, 2020. (Associated Press)

ISRAELIS BLOCK ENTRANCE TO PARLIAMENT AMID INTENSE PROTESTS

Police said demonstrators tried to stage a procession through the city after the dispersal order. A scuffle ensued until four large trucks roared into action, spraying water cannons back and forth, scattering the crowd.

Netanyahu’s unity government has struggled with infighting and a clear message on the coronavirus since it was formed in May after three inconclusive elections and the prime minister has been bogged down by charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust filed following corruption investigations.

The country has reported a total of more than 57,000 coronavirus cases and at least 442 deaths. More than 24,000 patients have recovered.

Some Israelis have accused Netanyahu of being more focused on his legal jeopardy than the virus.

Protester Tamar Shneck said Thursday the prime minister was “taking advantage of the coronavirus for power,” according to the Post.

“You can see that he’s continuing to do so. You can see that he’s always stripped Israel of its democratic powers,” she said.

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In a Thursday news conference, Netanyahu warned protesters clashes with police would lead to “anarchy.” He also dismissed speculation that he might call for another election as “absurd.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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