Protests against Benjamin Netanyahu as new Israeli elections loom
Hundreds of Israelis protested against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday, calling on the long-serving leader to resign just days after the country found out new elections were around the corner.
The protesters have been gathering outside Netanyahu's Jerusalem residence for months, slamming him for his handling of the coronavirus crisis and insisting he step down while under indictment for fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in three separate corruption cases.
Netanyahu denies wrongdoing.
Protesters held signs urging Netanyahu to "go," and "we won't stop protesting until you get out of our lives".
While turnout was lower than previous demonstrations amid colder weather, the protesters have a new impetus in news this week that Israel would be headed toward its fourth elections in two years in March.
Netanyahu faces new challenges from defectors from his conservative Likud Party.
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It will come just after Netanyahu's trial enters its evidentiary stage, what will likely place the corruption charges against him firmly in the public eye during what is expected to be a bitter and divisive campaign.
Saturday's protest came a day before Israel heads into a third national coronavirus lockdown, with much of the economy again shutting down amid surging infection numbers.
Critics say Netanyahu and his so-called "emergency" government, set up in the spring specifically to deal with the virus, have bungled their response, leading to another costly lockdown.
Netanyahu points to the country's current vaccination campaign, which is among the world's highest in per capita inoculations, as the way out of the crisis.