Israel: Anti-Netanyahu protesters in Jerusalem demand release of arrested activist

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Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90Protesters rally against Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside the leader's official Jerusalem residence on June 27, 2020.

(i24)

The rally is part of the ongoing ‘black flag’ anti-corruption protests against Netanyahu

Several thousand Israelis turned out to a protest outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official residence in Jerusalem on Saturday, after police arrested several demonstrators at a similar event the previous day.

The protesters brandished banners decrying the state of Israeli democracy under Netanyahu, and what they described as the precarious state of free speech in the country.

The rallies are part of the ongoing “black flag” anti-corruption protests against Netanyahu, who stands trial for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

Many protesters demanded the immediate release of a former Israeli Air Force brigadier general, who was among the detainees at the Friday protest. Amir Haskel, one of the movement’s leaders, refused conditional release entailing signing a restraining order that would’ve barred him from Jerusalem.

Netanyahu, who last month formed a new unity government with former rival Benny Gantz after a protracted political battle, denies all the charges and accuses the media and legal officials of a witch hunt.

Gantz took to Facebook on Saturday, urging police to release the arrested protesters.

“The right to demonstrate is sacred in the State of Israel and it must not be compromised except in extreme scenarios,” he wrote.