Israel Police said Sunday that two people have been arrested for attacking protesters at weekend demonstrations around the country against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's handling of the coronavirus crisis.
Thousands of Israelis held several demonstrations across the country against their prime minister Saturday, with the main protest taking place in Jerusalem outside the prime minister's official residence.
One man was arrested after spraying a group of demonstrators with pepper spray in Ramat Gan and another was arrested on suspicion that he stabbed and injured an anti-Netanyahu demonstrator in the south.
The protests have been going on for the past few weeks, sparked by what critics see as a government failure to handle the coronavirus crisis after initially keeping the threat of the virus at bay.
Corruption charges against Netanyahu have further fueled the demonstrations.“Bibi, go home,” read one sign held by a protester. Another placard read “Everyone can see that the emperor has lost his clothes.”
Hundreds of protesters Saturday also gathered outside Netanyahu’s private home in the upscale coastal city of Caesarea.
Last week, police used water cannons to disperse crowds in Jerusalem.
After what has been called a hasty and erratic reopening of the economy in May, infections shot up with the average number of new cases daily at 2,000.
The country’s economy has been battered by virus restrictions and the unemployment rate has skyrocketed to nearly 20%.
Protesters say the government’s offers of financial assistance have been nowhere near enough.
The protests came in the shadow of Netanyahu’s corruption trial which resumed this month.
The prime minister is charged with fraud, breach of trust, and accepting bribes in a series of scandals. Witnesses will start giving testimony in January.