Israel protests: Thousands rally against Netanyahu immunity

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Israel protests Tel AvivImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Thousands of protesters gathered outside the Tel Aviv Museum

Thousands of Israelis gathered on Saturday for a mass rally against moves to grant Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immunity from prosecution.

Protesters amassed outside a museum in Tel Aviv for "pro-democracy" demonstrations organised by Israeli opposition parties.

They are accusing Mr Netanyahu of trying to pass legislation that safeguards him from corruption cases.

Mr Netanyahu last month was elected to a fifth term as prime minister.

However, he could be indicted on fraud and bribery charges in the coming months.

Saturday's demonstrations were the first held by opposition parties since Mr Netanyahu's election victory.

Some protesters wore Ottoman-style red fez hats and carried portraits of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who they claim "symbolises the regime type that we are opposing".

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
An Israeli man holds a sign at a protest against Netanyahu's "Immunity Law"

Organisers said that tens of thousands attended the protests, but no officials figures were released by police.

Benny Gantz, the former Israeli army chief who ran against Mr Netanyahu in the election, addressed crowds at the rally. He said Israel's dream was "falling apart" under Mr Netanyahu's leadership.

"There are those who are attempting to replace the people's rule with the rule of a single man and to enslave an entire nation to the interests of one man," Mr Gantz said.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Israelis demonstrated against possible legislation reigning in the Supreme Court

In February, Israel's attorney general said he was considering charging Mr Netanyahu with fraud and bribery.

The prime minister is alleged to have accepted gifts from wealthy businessmen and dispensed favours to try to get more positive press coverage.

Mr Netanyahu denies all wrongdoing and claims he is a victim of a left-wing "witch-hunt". Opposition parties say Mr Netanyahu cannot carry on as prime minister if he is charged.

The Supreme Court will determine whether he must resign, but opposition parties fear he is pursuing legislation that will limit the court's power.

Mr Netanyahu is yet to form a government despite weeks of talks with potential coalition partners. The deadline to do so is 29 May, after which the president can invite another member of the Knesset legislature to try.