Some 2,000 persons protested nearby Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s home on Saturday evening, August 26, after the Supreme Court ruled that the weekly protests calling for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be indicted on charges of corruption could resume. Police said 500 protesters had already reached Goren Square near Mandelblit’s home in Petah Tivka as the protest began at 8:00 pm and called on additional demonstrators to stay away from the site “to respect the court decision” which had authorized only 500 demonstrators. Indeed, some 500 people were protesting in a fenced-in area allocated by police for the demonstration, while another 1,500 who also arrived were protesting outside the allocated space.
The protesters carried signs bearing slogans like “A king needs slaves,” “Bibi go home,” and “Corrupted go home.”
Protest organizers denied the claims of police who announced that 500 protesters were in Goren Square, while “in accordance with the law and the plan ordered by the Supreme Court” the others were in an adjacent area. “The demand that leaders of the protest are supposed to instruct people to remain at home is ridiculous, unreasonable, and most of all undemocratic,” the organizers said in a statement. “In a democratic country it is the right of thousands of citizens to congregate at the city center to hold a protest,” they said, agreeing that protesters “must obey police instructions on the exact location of the protest.”
The court ruling, which came after police blocked last week’s protest and arrested two of its leaders, limited the number of demonstrators to just 500, but police estimates and other reports put the figure at 2,000. Police blocked would-be demonstrators to try to limit the numbers, and hundreds demonstrated in nearby streets.
Likud coalition chairman MK David Bitan said the size of the demonstration constituted “a gross violation of the Supreme Court ruling,” accusing the protesters of only being interested in the rule of law when it suits them. “I expect the police to act with a strong hand and to enforce the court’s instructions against an anarchist minority,” he said.
The demonstrations, which have taken place every Saturday evening since December 2016, have grown dramatically in recent weeks amid developments in the corruption cases involving Netanyahu. This past Saturday, similar events were simultaneously held in 17 other cities across the country.
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