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Thousands rally across Israel demanding Netanyahu's resignation, hostage swap deal with Hamas

Clashes between police and protesters erupted during the weekly Saturday night protests in Tel Aviv, which included road blockages, labelled by an Israeli newspaper as 'mass protests demanding a hostage deal and new elections.' Israeli police dispersed protesters blocking Highway 4 near Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence in Caesarea while another group of demonstrators split off to protest near his private residence. Times of Israel reporters witnessed dozens of arrests during the protest.

March 31, 2024 at 10:38 am

Thousands of people on Saturday protested across Israel against the current government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, demanding a hostage swap deal with Palestinian group Hamas, Anadolu news agency reported.

Thousands of Israelis began to gather in Kaplan Square, in central Tel Aviv, to participate in the main demonstration demanding a hostage swap deal, the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported.

The newspaper said police used trucks to close the streets surrounding Kaplan Square, preventing protesters from reaching the gathering to participate.

Thousands of Israelis also demonstrated near Netanyahu’s residence in Caesarea (north), demanding his resignation, the daily said.

Protesters accused Netanyahu of being “guilty” in the current situation and demanded that his government immediately finalise a deal to free hostages held in Gaza.

Thousands of Israelis demonstrated in Rehavot (central), the Kiryat Gat intersection, Haifa (north), and other cities across the country demanding a hostage swap deal, according to the Israeli Broadcasting Authority.

Protests across the country are expected to pick up pace in the coming hours, local media reported.

Qatar, Egypt, and the US are trying to reach a hostage swap deal and a ceasefire in Gaza, as the first pause lasted only a week in late November last year, which resulted in limited aid entering the Gaza Strip, as well as exchanges of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners, mostly women and children detained in Israeli jails.

Tel Aviv currently holds at least 9,100 Palestinian prisoners in its jails, while there are an estimated 134 Israeli hostages in Gaza. Hamas has announced the death of 70 of them in random Israeli airstrikes.

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