Israeli police deployed water cannon to disperse anti-Netanyahu protesters in Jerusalem on the night of Thursday, July 23, and detained at least 55 demonstrators, the highest number of arrests in a single night since protests began two weeks ago. An estimated 4000 people gathered in Paris Square to demonstrate against Prime Minister Netanyahu, whose residence, Beit Aghion, is on nearby Balfour Street. Police declared the demonstration illegal at 00:00 (local time), and water cannon were deployed as protesters were leaving Paris Square by Agron Street. Reports indicate that water cannon were also deployed in HaMekhes Square, at the bottom of Agron Street, effectively blocking protesters in. Protesters seeking refuge in Independence Park were allegedly charged by mounted police and detained.
Further protests are expected on Saturday, July 25. Associated disruption to business and transportation and a heightened security presence should be anticipated in the near term.
Protests have been reported throughout Israel, particularly in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, over the government's handling of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Anger over the issue has been compounded by pre-existing anti-Netanyahu sentiment, with the prime minister facing three criminal cases over alleged corruption.
Those in Israel are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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