Mass protests have taken place around Israel, with demonstrators calling for the return of Israeli captives held in Gaza, the removal of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government and an end to the war in Gaza.
Several thousand supporters, friends and families of the Israeli captives taken by Hamas on October 7 rallied in Tel Aviv’s “Hostage Square” on Saturday, Al Jazeera reporters on the ground said.
“This is unprecedented because, throughout the beginning of this war, everyone had agreed, including the anti-government protesters, that they needed to be unified at a time when there is war, at a time when captives are still being held in Gaza,” said Al Jazeera’s Sara Khairat, reporting from Tel Aviv.
The turnout of people in the square was much higher than in recent weeks when a few dozen to a few hundred people gathered. “Now, quite a few thousand people [are] gathered here,” our correspondent said.
Protesters shouted: “Bushah bushah, bushah”, meaning “shame, shame, shame” in reference to the government, with some also blaming Netanyahu and other officials for the events of October 7.
“This just gives you a sense of how angry some of these people are,” Khairat said.
In Jerusalem, people gathered in front of the house of Israeli President Isaac Herzog to demonstrate, demanding the return of the more than 100 captives still held in Gaza.