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Tens of Thousands Flood Jerusalem To Demand Netanyahu’s Ouster

March 31, 2024 (EIRNS)—Israeli media report Sunday night, March 31, that “tens of thousands” of protesters filled the streets in Jerusalem, kicking off four days of protests and meetings demanding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government go. Organizers of the protest say 100,000 were present today. Either way, it is the largest protest against the Netanyahu government since Oct. 7.

The coalition which organized the four-day protest includes different groups, with different specific interests. They united, however, around the call for early elections, for the Knesset to cancel its vote to recess from April 7- May 19, and for the government to agree to a hostage deal to free those still held in Gaza. “The entire Israeli public, in all its diversity, was invited to join and participate in this important struggle for the country’s future,” the Jerusalem Post reported. “Elections now!” echoed throughout the protest.

The main rally was held near the Knesset, but “some of the protesters marched towards several centers in the city, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence, while others blocked one of the entrances to the city. Hundreds of protesters blocked another major road and lit fires. The police used skunk water to disperse them,” Haaretz reported.

Times of Israel reported that plans for the four days of rallies throughout Jerusalem include setting up a tent city near the Knesset. Opposition leader Yair Lapid was one of the many speakers at Sunday’s first rally, as was Moshe Redman, an Israeli entrepreneur prominent in organizing the mass protests in 2023 which blocked immediate enactment of Netanyahu’s judicial reform. “On Monday, events are scheduled with former IDF chief and ex-defense minister Moshe Ya’alon and Labor [Party] activist Yaya Fink, ahead of an evening rally with comments from ex-MK and former deputy IDF chief Yair Golan, as well as family members of those killed on October 7 and the grandson of hostage Chaim Peri,” TOI wrote. Other politicians reported by Israeli media as scheduled to speak at rallies over the course of the four days include former Prime Minister Ehud Barak and at least two Labor Party MKs.

Haaretz reports, citing Redman, that after these four days of action, the protest organizers intend “to mobilize the leaders of the Israelis, the chairman of the Histadrut labor union, the heads of the universities and the chair of Israel’s Federation of Local Authorities to issue an ultimatum to the government that it must set a deadline for a date of general elections—or else the economy will be shut down.”