Thousands gathered on Saturday night across from the Prime Minister’s Residence, both to demand a solution to the economic crisis resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, as well as to insist on the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu due to his indictment for fraud, bribery and breach of trust.
The streets were full for blocks, with police tape drawn to block off vehicles at a noticeably farther line than in previous demonstrations. Signs moved on all sides, reading: “We the people demand democracy, we the people demand constitution” and “Bibi, you united the nation against you.”
Meanwhile, crowds cried out together through megaphones, each crowded in large bunches of hundreds of people. Moving through the demonstration, there were many groups, each chanting, “Revolution!” and “Instead of giving to the poor, they give to the rich, and what a government of corrupt people!”
“I am here to strengthen the people that come out and say: No to Netanyahu!” Joint List faction chairman Ahmad Tibi told The Jerusalem Post. “There is no doubt that the courage of these people is going to bring about peace, but that peace can only be through the Palestinians.”
His statement came as protesters passed by calling on politicians to leave, as they are taking advantage of the demonstrations to advance their platforms.
Children also marched among the crowd, crying out: “Bibi, go home, pee-pee and to bed!” Meanwhile, projectors displayed the different titles of the cases for which Netanyahu was indicted, along with one word flashing above them all: “Democracy.”
Numerous protesters walked among the crowd, handing out black flags, pink bandannas, and roses.
Police announced a few hours after the demonstrations began that they had fined several protesters for not wearing masks. A small few had been seen earlier in the night carrying signs which claimed that coronavirus was a fictional illness, even as over 750,000 were pronounced dead from the virus worldwide.
“Israel Police calls on all of the protesters to exhibit personal responsibility and to wear masks as necessary for the public’s health,” the police spokesperson’s unit said in a press release late Saturday night.
Some 11 suspects were arrested from the crowd, as well, two for allegedly attacking police officers.
“Bibi gives attention to the strong, not the weak,” Ella Rosner, a demonstrator from Kfar Saba, told the Post.
Demonstrators brought hundreds of red and white roses to the protest. “We will walk together holding bouquets with our hands crossed over our heads,” the protesters said. “At the end of the march we will give the flowers to the policemen.”
According to organizers, the goal was “to bring to the protest beauty and joy beside anger and pain.” They explained that “only with hope can we win.”
“I came with my son-in-law because he said it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Avi, an ex-Likud voter from the Hasharon region. “I have a message: Bibi is in the middle of the path of protesters. People are pushing him towards corruption.
“His new deal cheats his base of the full State of Israel and gives away annexation,” he continued, referring to the recent agreement made between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, mediated by US President Donald Trump. “He is not corrupt yet. But he will be able to take credit for giving up the State of Israel in its entirety.”
Meanwhile, thousands of protesters came to raise their voices and make noise by any means necessary in order to get their message across, whether it be by blaring through horns, banging on drums, or slamming wooden spoons against pots and pans.
A crowd of doctors in their robes came holding signs reading, “Fight coronavirus during the day, fight corruption during the night.”
“I want justice as a citizen,” Shirly, a resident of the northern town of Tivon, told the Post. “I have to follow the law. So does Netanyahu.”
Israelis also gathered along bridges throughout Saturday, as well.
“While the prime minister is busy organizing flights for himself to Abu Dhabi, the people of Israel are collapsing from the failure of his managing of the economic-health crisis,” the Black Flag protests announced in a press release on Saturday afternoon. “Not flights to the Gulf, [but rather] jobs in Israel! This is what we demand!”