Sept. 29 (UPI) — An Israeli legislative committee approved changes to its coronavirus law on Tuesday in a bid to limit protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his official residence.
The changes seek to restrict the protests, in line with current COVID-19 lockdown measures, to people living within about a half-mile of Netanyahu’s home.
The Knesset’s Law Constitution and Justice Committee passed the change by a vote of 9-6.
Throngs of protesters, as part of the “Black Flag” movement, have appeared near Netanyahu’s home in recent weeks to call for his resignation — due mainly to his corruption indictment and accusations that he’s mishandled the response to the pandemic.
The proposed rule change must now pass a vote in the full Knesset. If it does, the new measures would be enforced for a week and officials would have an option to extend it for as many as three weeks.
Netanyahu’s Likud Party pushed for a longer protest ban, but needed to compromise with opposition Blue and White Party members to get it approved in committee. Likud members first asked that it last for six months.
“The dangerous attempt by Likud to forbid protests until the entire corona crisis is over failed,” Israeli justice minister Avi Nissenkorn, a member of the Blue and White Party, said.
A convoy of activists’ vehicles circled the Knesset in Jerusalem Tuesday and police charged some with blocking traffic. One protester was arrested for assaulting a police officer.