Protest against prime minister to be held in San Francisco on Friday
The crowd had a mix of young and older people, some carrying back flags and some Israeli flags. There were very few kippot. One protester carried a sign that said in Hebrew “Netanyahu the convict” and in English “Let my people go.”
Organizers of the demonstrations said their protests would escalate on Saturday night and that thousands more would attend a mass demonstration. There will also be demonstrations against Netanyahu over the weekend near his private residence in Caesarea.
Large police forces – including special counterterror units – were deployed around the Paris Square area where the protests are held. Earlier in the day, police installed cameras on traffic light poles along the nearby streets.
Police had been on high alert after a group of far-right pro-Likud activists from “La Familia” gang gathered at the First Station in Jerusalem, not far from the Balfour Street residence. It was reported that at least 16 members of the extreme-right group were arrested after two cameramen and one Muslim bypasser were attacked. N12 reported that police weren’t present at the scene.
The Black Flag Movement responded to the attack and said that as long as Netanyahu remains prime minister, violence against demonstrators would continue.
Members of La Familia allegedly attacked the protesters – with bats, glass bottles and chairs – at the demonstration on Tuesday evening outside the home of Public Security Minister Amir Ohana, in Tel Aviv. At least five protesters were wounded at Tuesday’s demonstration and required hospitalization.
Rozen called Thursday night’s demonstration “the quiet before the storm” when the demonstrations will escalate.
“We heard that Netanyahu will be going to his other home in Caesarea in order to have a quiet Shabbat,” a woman on the loudspeaker said at Thursday’s rally. “That is why we will be in Caesarea on Friday night and Saturday night.”
One of the women who spoke on stage at the event called Netanyahu “the head of a crime syndicate.”
“Netanyahu is constantly scaring us, whether it is from Iran, Hamas or corona,” Movement for Quality Government head Eliad Shraga said on stage. “He uses hate to divide and cause conflicts. He is tearing the nation apart. When the nation is divided, he can lie 24/7. This hatred leads to the violence we saw in Tel Aviv.”
Left-wing activist Emilie Moatti raised NIS 30,000 for equipment to protect the protesters at the demonstrations.
On Friday, the protest movement against Netanyahu will expand internationally, when a demonstration will be held on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The demonstrators in San Francisco plan to carry black and Israeli flags and warn about the danger to Israeli democracy.
“The foundations of Israeli democracy are being challenged by a prime minister indicted for criminal bribery charges and we American-Israelis and Israeli expats will not stand idle,” protest leader Offir Gutelzon wrote.
Ahead of the Saturday night protest, the Likud is planning to add a global element of its own to the protests. A group of Likud central committee members are planning a video of US President Donald Trump supporting Netanyahu that will disrupt an anti-Netanyahu protest outside Netanyahu’s Jerusalem residence on Saturday night.
Mayor of Jerusalem Moshe Lion pleaded with the heads of the protest movements against Netanyahu on Thursday to cancel that evening’s demonstration.
“I call upon all the protesters to refrain from demonstrating today out of concern for security forces and residents of the city after a day of fasting amid heavy heat,” Lion told the leaders of the protest movements. “Tisha Be’av is not like other days. It is a long fast day that this year is exhaustingly hot. I hope my request will be answered.”
A spokesman for the Black Flag protest movement rejected the request.
“We ask the mayor of Jerusalem to have the police protect the protesters, maintain their democratic right to demonstrate and prevent police violence against citizens who come to protect the State of Israel from the inciting convict Netanyahu.”
One of the leaders of the protests said the mayor was “just looking for a headline” and “if he was serious, he would have coordinated with us a week or two ago instead of putting out a press release hours before thousands of people are planning on coming.”