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‘Replace him’: Thousands Rally Against Netanyahu’s Government in Tel Aviv

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Tel Aviv on Saturday night in one of the largest demonstrations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government since October, when the Hamas-led attack on Israel ignited a war.

Tel Aviv has been the scene of weekly demonstrations calling on the government to strike a cease-fire deal to free the hostages who have been held in Gaza since October. Those protests have been growing in size as the war has dragged on and anger at Mr. Netanyahu’s government has mounted.

People with loosely bound hands protesting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.Credit…Hannah Mckay/Reuters
Police officers detaining a man during the protest.Credit…Hannah Mckay/Reuters

On Saturday night, the sounds of whistles, horns and drums filled the air along with chants from the crowds, video from The Associated Press showed. Protesters waved flags and carried pictures of the Israeli hostages with signs reading “Hostage deal now.” Other banners made clear the anger directed at Mr. Netanyahu over the plight of the hostages, with one reading “Replace him, save them.”

“We demand our government to sign a deal now, no matter what is the cost,” Lee Hoffmann Agiv, who attended the protest, told The A.P. “It’s a life or death situation — we will not forgive our government if another hostage dies in captivity.”

As the night wore on, some scuffles broke out. The police said that while the demonstration was largely peaceful, “several hundred protesters” had violated public order by lighting bonfires, blocking a highway and confronting the police. Officers used a water cannon to disperse some protesters from a highway and made 16 arrests, according to the police.

The police using a water cannon to disperse demonstrators from a highway.Credit…Maya Alleruzzo/Associated Press

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