Thousands of Israelis rally against Netanyahu over coronavirus resurgence

Crowds rally against rising unemployment and government’s response to self-employed people hit by pandemic

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - AUGUST 01:  Israeli woman raise her hand during a demonstration against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on August 1, 2020 in Jerusalem, Israel. The protests have become a recurring feature amid discontent over the the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic and Netanyahu's looming corruption trial.  (Photo by Amir Levy/Getty Images)
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Thousands of people protested against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu across Israel on Saturday night, demanding he resign over corruption charges and a resurgence of the coronavirus.

The protests took place at scores of junctions and bridges, and outside Mr Netanyahu's home in the northern town of Caesarea, where people held banners accusing him of failure and calling for his resignation.

The main event took place outside the prime minister’s official residence in Jerusalem.

In Tel Aviv, hundreds protested against rising unemployment and the government’s failure to support self-employed people who lost their livelihoods in the pandemic, media reports said.

Wearing face masks, demonstrators carried signs accusing Mr Netanyahu, whose trial is under way at Jerusalem District Court, of corruption and failing to resolve the coronavirus crisis and the related economic malaise.

Israel won praise for its initial response to the Covid-19 outbreak, but the government has come under criticism amid a resurgence in cases after restrictions were lifted in late April.

Mr Netanyahu has acknowledged that the economy was reopened too quickly.

The country has recorded more than 72,000 cases, including 523 deaths.