Israelis hold torch-lit protest accusing PM of corruption

JERUSALEM (AP) — Dozens of Israeli protesters carrying lit torches, megaphones and flags gathered at dawn yesterday outside Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official residence to highlight his corruption trial, which is set to resume next month.

Police said at least seven demonstrators were arrested for disorderly conduct. The demonstration was organised by Crime Minister, one of several groups that have sprung up in recent months calling for Netanyahu to resign over the trial and his government’s handling of the coronavirus.

The protesters read the indictment outside his residence. He was to appear in court yesterday, but the hearing was postponed to February 8 because of a coronavirus lockdown that heavily restricts public gatherings.

For months, protesters have held weekly demonstrations outside the Prime Minister’s office and at major road intersections and bridges across the country.

Netanyahu was indicted last year on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust linked to three corruption cases. He has denied any wrongdoing and accuses the media, law enforcement and judicial officials of waging a “witch hunt” against him.

Netanyahu is once again fighting for re-election ahead of a nationwide vote in March. Polls show his Likud party winning the most seats but being unable to form a coalition government because of rivalries with other right-wing leaders.

An Israeli anti-government protester wears a mask on the back of his head outside the official residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. PHOTO: AP