Anti-Netanyahu rally attracts thousands of people under coronavirus control

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Man wearing face mask carries flag of Israel as Israelis protest Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as part of strict restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the square Rabin in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 19, 2020 / Photo taken on November 26, 2018 / REUTERS / Corinna Kern

TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Wearing masks, waving black flags and standing two meters apart, thousands of Israelis protested Sunday against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu under strict coronavirus restrictions .

Netanyahu, who denies any wrongdoing, is the subject of criminal proceedings in three corruption cases.

He is also negotiating a power-sharing agreement with rival Benny Gantz to form a coalition government that would end a year of political stalemate after three inconclusive elections.

Demonstrations are permitted under restrictions imposed by Israel on coronaviruses, as long as participants stay away from each other and wear masks.

Under the banner of “Save the Democracy”, the demonstrators called on the blue and white party of Gantz not to join a coalition led by a Prime Minister accused of corruption.

Gantz campaigned for a clean government, but said the coronavirus crisis forced him to backtrack on his election promise.

A Reuters cameraman estimated that a few thousand protesters attended the rally in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv. The Israeli media encrypted around 2,000 people.

Israel has reported more than 13,000 cases of coronavirus and 172 deaths. A partial lockdown has confined most Israelis to their homes, forced businesses to close, and brought unemployment down to around 26%. Some restrictions have been relaxed since Saturday.

Rami Amichay report; Editing by Alexander Smith

Our standards:Principles of the Thomson Reuters Trust.

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