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Israelis Protest Against New COVID-19 Lockdown

Israelis Protest Against New COVID-19 Lockdown

Sunday, 20 September, 2020 - 08:00
Israeli police set up barriers at a checkpoint in Jerusalem to enforce a second nationwide coronavirus lockdown taking effect on September 18, 2020. AFP

Dozens of Israelis held a demonstration against a new lockdown prompted by a surge in coronavirus cases.

The protesters Saturday relied on a loophole in the national closure’s guidelines that allows people to travel beyond the one square kilometer limit if they are to participate in a demonstration.

The three-week nationwide lockdown began Friday as Israel celebrates Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year.

The demonstrators gathered on the beach of the central city of Tel Aviv, raising black and pink flags connoting various protest movements, The Associated Press reported.

Some protesters carried pictures of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been the target of weekly protests during the summer for his corruption charges and failure to handle the pandemic.

The protests against Netanyahu also were fueled by business owners who say the government failed to offer proper compensation in the first lockdown.

The government decided to impose a second lockdown because health authorities are recording thousands of cases a day, with a confirmed death toll of about 1,200.

“The health system has raised the red flag... We did everything we could to strike a balance between the (public) health needs and needs of the economy,” Netanyahu said earlier.

Meanwhile, Israel’s opposition chief Yair Lapid has condemned the measures.

“It’s a very aggressive move. It’s devastating for the economy and it’s not helpful in terms of stopping the epidemic,” he told AFP.

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