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Israeli President Invites Leaders of Self-Employed Workers Protest to Discuss Demands

© REUTERS / Amir CohenAn ultra-Orthodox Jewish man wearing a mask looks on in Bnei Brak, a town badly affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and which Israel declared a "restricted zone" due to its high rate of infections, near Tel Aviv, Israel April 5, 2020
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man wearing a mask looks on in Bnei Brak, a town badly affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and which Israel declared a restricted zone due to its high rate of infections, near Tel Aviv, Israel April 5, 2020 - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Israeli President Reuven Rivlin has invited the leaders of a protest of self-employed workers taking place outside of the country’s parliament on Sunday over economic restrictions imposed amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

According to the i24news portal, hundreds of protesters gathered in Jerusalem, calling for the lifting of stringent social distancing measures designed to curb the spread of the outbreak, which have caused economic disruption. Individuals working in the entertainment, culture and agricultural industry participated in the protest, according to the portal.

Later in the day, Rivlin stated that he had acknowledged the protest and had invited the leaders to take part in talks to discuss how the government can assist self-employed workers during the epidemiological and economic crisis.

"I heard the protest of the self-employed outside Beit HaNasi and invited its leaders to come and talk. This is an emergency and I promised them, and all self-employed people, that policy-makers will hear what they say. We need to see the big picture without abandoning anyone," Rivlin wrote on Twitter.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to begin gradually lifting the social distancing measures, which have seen all non-essential travel banned and businesses close.

As of Sunday morning, the Israeli Ministry of Health has reported more than 13,362 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the outbreak, resulting in the deaths of 171 people.

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