Long convoys head to Jerusalem, despite lockdown, to protest against Netanyahu.
Convoys of vehicles were making their way along Israeli highways to Jerusalem Saturday afternoon, as protesters headed to the capital for weekly demonstrations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu despite tightened lockdown measures that entered into effect Friday.
Cars sporting Israeli flags honked as they crawled along roads, with demonstrators by the roadside and on overpasses calling out encouragements.
Police were preparing in increased forces, and said they would closely enforce social distancing and mask-wearing regulations. Police officials said officers had been instructed not to block protesters from reaching rallying points.
Aside from the main protest in Jerusalem, hundreds more people are rallying against the government in Tel Aviv and in Caesarea.
Protests outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s private residence have become a weekly fixture in Caesarea, an otherwise idyllic seaside town.
Media reports put the number of people at Jerusalem’s Paris Square in the thousands.
Before the protests, police blocked the streets of Ben Maimon, Gaza, Paris Square, Agron, King George, and Keren Hayesod, and nearby streets leading to these streets are expected to be blocked.
Protest groups said, “Only Netanyahu is to blame and he is now trying to destroy democracy. He is obsessed with demonstrations at Balfour because they expose the lies he’s trying to hide and the fact that he’s abandoned the citizens of Israel.
“Tonight’s demonstrations represent a soul-searching for democracy and the future of our children. On the eve of Yom Kippur, citizens of Israel say to Netanyahu – You have sinned before us – go.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continued over the weekend to insert emergency regulations that could clamp down on protests, after an attempt to legislate new rules before the weekend failed, Channel 12 news reports.
The channel says that the premier held a call with Blue and White head Benny Gantz and Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn, also from Blue and White, to push them on emergency regulations.
During the call, according to the channel, Nissenkorn and Gantz hinted that Netanyahu himself was the one putting the brakes on legislation, which would be limited in time, unlike the emergency rules, which would give Netanyahu a more free hand on implementing restrictions by fiat.
Speaking to Channel 13, Gantz says there will not be any emergency rules and accuses Netanyahu’s Likud party of “sabotaging” restrictions that the cabinet had agreed on.
He also expresses support for the protests, but urges participants to act responsibility by limiting numbers and keeping social distancing rules.
Police hand out fines to some protesters near the prime minister’s residence due to failure to socially distance and wear masks.
Activists said officers checked if demonstrators standing close together were of the same family, and wrote them fines if they weren’t.
Police tell Channel 13 News that they will not limit the number of participants but will enforce social distancing regulations.
Header: Protesters against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu along Route 1 to Jerusalem, September 26, 2020, during a nationwide lockdown (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Source: Arutz Sheva and TOI