In cold weather, anti-Netanyahu protests continue in Israel


JERUSALEM (AP) – Hundreds of protesters braved a cold night in Jerusalem on Saturday to continue their calls for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to step down on corruption charges brought against him.

Protesters gathered in a Jerusalem square near Netanyahu’s official residence.

The weekly protests have been taking place for over seven months.

Netanyahu is charged with fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in three cases involving billionaire associates and media moguls, charges he denies.

Protesters insist Netanyahu cannot run the country properly on charges of corruption.

His trial is scheduled to begin next month.

Israel will hold its fourth national election in two years in March, in what will likely be another referendum on Netanyahu as he faces a challenge from deserters in his Likud party.

Protesters also claim Netanyahu and his government have missed the response to the coronavirus.

The country has seen its economy hit hard by viral restrictions throughout the year and is again under nationwide lockdown, albeit partial, amid skyrocketing infection rates.

Netanyahu and his allies have used Israel’s vaccination campaign, in which more than a tenth of its population has been vaccinated, to try to downplay the protesters and their cause. They say the prime minister is working to end the outbreak while they organize protests.

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