Middle East

33 arrested in anti-government protests in Tel Aviv

From CNN staff

Thirty-three people were arrested on Saturday in anti-government protests in Tel Aviv, according to police, as demonstrators blocked roads demanding the release of all hostages held in Gaza and calling for a ceasefire deal.

Police said several hundred demonstrators on Kaplan Street, informally known as Democracy Square, violated the public order, blocking traffic, lighting fires and confronting police.

Authorities arrested the 33 people who were blocking major roads and cleared the demonstrations, police said, adding that all roads have since reopened.

Video of the protests on Saturday showed police deploying water cannons to clear the crowds, sparking concerns over police violence.

In separate posts, opposition leader Yair Lapid and Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz expressed concern over reports of police violence and called for investigations into the allegations.

Political turmoil: The Israeli government is under intense pressure to recover the more than 100 hostages still held in the Gaza Strip, with weekly protests calling for their release.

Many are also demanding new elections, saying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s current government must step down.

This comes as Netanyahu faces growing domestic political tension, including the possible resignation of Gantz, a key member of the country’s emergency wartime government.

After the rescue of four Israeli hostages from Gaza on Saturday, the Israeli prime minister called on Gantz not to leave the wartime emergency government, saying, “We must remain united within ourselves in the face of the great tasks before us.”

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