15:22 GMT29 October 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - As thousands of people protest against the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Israeli police have called on demonstrators to follow social distancing guidelines.

    On Saturday, thousands of people assembled outside of Netanyahu's official residence, calling for the prime minister’s resignation. According to The Haaretz newspaper, several convoys constituting over a thousand vehicles headed from all across Israel to Jerusalem. Hundreds of cars were spotted in the coastal city of Casarea, where Netanyahu's private residence is located.

    The Israeli police said in a statement that all measures to ensure security and the safety of people during the demonstrations had been taken. Police called on people to maintain a distance of two meters from one another and to wear face masks.

    On Friday, fresh pandemic restrictions came into force in Israel, building on a new three-week lockdown that took effect earlier this month, with the possibility of an extension.

    Israel’s top COVID-19 policy advisor and the director-general of the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Ronni Gamzu, accused Netanyahu of tightening COVID-19 restrictions in an attempt to contain anti-government demonstrations.

    Protests calling on Netanyahu to step down amid the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic have been ongoing since July.

    Israel has over 226,500 confirmed coronavirus cases, with nearly 8,700 cases registered in the past 24 hours alone. Five new coronavirus-related deaths were confirmed in Israel in that period, with the country's total death toll standing at 1,417.

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    police, protests, coronavirus, COVID-19, Israel
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