Israel bans mass protests as Covid lockdown tightens



a group of people holding a sign: Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Israel has passed a law that bans mass protest during the country’s coronavirus lockdown in a move government opponents have claimed exploits the health crisis to suppress demonstrations calling for Benjamin Netanyahu to resign as prime minister.

The contentious legislation was approved at 4:30 am local time (1:30 am GMT) on Wednesday after an all-night session by the country’s parliament, the Knesset. It allows the government to restrict people from travelling more than 1km from their homes to demonstrate and bans outdoor gatherings of more than 20 people.



a group of people holding a sign: People gather in front of the Israeli parliament to protest against the decision to curb mass rallies.


© Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
People gather in front of the Israeli parliament to protest against the decision to curb mass rallies.

Critics say it, in effect, criminalises weekly rallies in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, where thousands have voiced their anger over Netanyahu’s handling of the pandemic as well as charges of alleged

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Israel passes law to limit protests during ‘virus emergency’

Israel’s parliament approved a law early Wednesday restricting demonstrations as part of a coronavirus-related state of emergency, that critics say is aimed at silencing protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The law, which passed its final reading by 46 votes to 38, was meant to be part of a slew of measures approved by parliament on Friday tightening a second nationwide lockdown. 

But debate on the measure was put off as the government struggled to secure the necessary votes amid an opposition outcry and a protest outside parliament on Tuesday.

The lockdown, which went into force on September 18, shutters the majority of workplaces, markets, places of worship, schools and cultural venues.

It also bans journeys of more than a kilometre (0.6 miles) from home, other than for essential purposes such as buying food and medicine or receiving medical treatment. 

The new law gives the government powers to declare a

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Israel approves law to curb protests during virus lockdown

Israel’s parliament has passed a law that would allow the government to curtail public protests during the country’s nationwide virus lockdown

The law allows the government to declare a special week-long state of emergency if the coronavirus spreads out of control. If such a state is declared, the government would be able to limit participation in assemblies, including protests, to 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) from a person’s home, effectively putting a halt to large weekly demonstrations outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence.

The Knesset approved the bill 46-38 during a late-night session that stretched into the morning hours.

That measure is widely seen as a bid to squelch

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Israel Limits Protests in New Coronavirus Lockdown Law | World News

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s parliament approved a government-backed edict on Wednesday likely to stifle protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over alleged corruption and his handling of the coronavirus crisis.

The legislation, ratified after an all-night debate in the Knesset, bans Israelis from holding demonstrations more than 1 km (0.6 miles) from their homes, a measure the government said was aimed at curbing COVID-19 infections.

Critics of the new measure, which becomes part of Israel’s second national lockdown that went into effect on Sept. 18, said it was really intended to block protests near Netanyahu’s official residence in Jerusalem.

“What’s the next step? Banning the opposition leader from addressing parliament?” Yair Lapid, who heads the opposition in the legislature, tweeted about the vote.

For weeks, thousands of demonstrators have gathered to call for Netanyahu’s resignation.

Opinion polls show only about a quarter of the public has confidence in the way

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UK government warns museums not to remove statues over protests

LONDON (Reuters) – The British government has warned a number of cultural institutions that their public funding could be called into question should they remove statues or other objects that have become the focus of protests or complaints.

The issue of how Britain should deal with the legacies of its past, especially its role in slavery and colonialism, has been the subject of passionate debate since the statue of a slave trader was toppled by protesters in Bristol in June.

Since then, officials have removed the statue of another slave trader in London, a concert hall in Bristol has renamed itself, and venerable institutions like Oxford University have grappled publicly with what to do about contested heritage.

In a letter sent to the British Museum, the National Gallery, the Tate Gallery and other prominent cultural institutions, culture minister Oliver Dowden said the government was against the removal of statues and

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Belarus detains 500 at weekend anti-government protests

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Authorities in Belarus have detained about 500 people during weekend protests against the country’s authoritarian president, who has claimed a sixth term in office in an election widely seen as rigged.

Belarus’ Interior Ministry said Monday that 150 protesters were detained on Saturday and over 350 more on Sunday, when anti-government protests spanned 22 cities. Daily rallies have rocked Belarus for over seven weeks now, with the largest ones drawing up to 200,000 people, in the biggest challenge yet to President Alexander Lukashenko’s long hard-line reign.

About 100,000 demonstrators marched in the Belarusian capital of Minsk on Sunday, demanding the resignation of Lukashenko, who has cracked down hard on opposition and independent news media during 26 years in power.

According to the Viasna human rights group, the clampdown on the protesters this weekend wasn’t as violent as before.

“Repressions get stuck when more than 100,000 people

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Belarus Detains 500 at Weekend Anti-Government Protests | World News

By YURAS KARMANAU, Associated Press

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Authorities in Belarus have detained about 500 people during weekend protests against the country’s authoritarian president, who has claimed a sixth term in office in an election widely seen as rigged.

Belarus’ Interior Ministry said Monday that 150 protesters were detained on Saturday and over 350 more on Sunday, when anti-government protests spanned 22 cities in the biggest challenge yet to President Alexander Lukashenko’s long reign.

About 100,000 demonstrators marched in the Belarusian capital of Minsk on Sunday, demanding the resignation of Lukashenko, who has cracked down hard on opposition and independent news media during 26 years in power.

According to the Viasna human rights group, the clampdown on the protesters this weekend wasn’t as violent as before.

“Repressions get stuck when more than 100,000 people take to the streets,” Viasna head Ales Bialiatski said. “The authorities’ scare tactics don’t work

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India’s controversial farm bills become law despite protests

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s president on Sunday approved three controversial agricultural bills amid nationwide protests by farmers who say the new laws will stunt their bargaining power and instead allow large retailers to have control over pricing.

Farmers’ organisations say one of the three laws could lead to the government stopping buying grain at guaranteed prices, a move that would disrupt wholesale markets which have so far ensured fair and timely payments to farmers.

President Ram Nath Kovind’s approval is likely to further stir protests, leading farmers’ organisations said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already lost a key political ally from the northern Indian state of Punjab, one of India’s two bread basket states, where farmers form an influential voting bloc.

The country’s main opposition Congress party has also backed the protests.

Under the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill –

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