A massive rally staged against the Israeli government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in hundreds of casualties between riot police and protesters.
THE demonstrators were complaining about the curbs taken by the government which has led to several job losses in a variety of sectors, while small and self-employed businesses are angry over a failure to deliver financial aid that was promised to them by the government.
The protest, concentrated in Rabin Square, was organised by multiple groups of workers, mainly self-employed but also of students and sectors severely affected by the pandemic, such as tourism and entertainment.
The organisers had not wanted to align themselves with any opposition political party and, instead, they have given prominence to representatives of workers who are suffering the most from the consequences of the restrictions established to stop the spread of the pandemic.
Around 300 police officers were called to the city’s Rabin Square to manage the situation and maintain social distancing, though the majority of protestors were conforming to the two-metre regulations and wearing face coverings.
Those present, arriving from different parts of the country, were carrying Israeli flags and banners with messages such as “free the money,” “we are fed up” and “let us live on our art.”
Public Health Director Siegal Sadetzki resigned on Tuesday after her warnings of the risks of an accelerated de-escalation were ignored. Israel imposed a strict lockdown in mid-March but started lifting restrictions in late May. Unemployment has risen to 21 per cent.
The country has seen a spike in coronavirus cases with nearly 1,500 new cases reported on Friday. A total of 354 people have died from Covid-19 in Israel, according to Johns Hopkins University data.