100,000 in Israel demand ceasefire, tell Netanyahu to resign
'Stop the war' was the call made by Hadash and Communist Party of Israel activists in massive protest against the far-right Netanyahu government. Carrying the flag at right is Israeli Communist parliamentarian Ofer Cassif. | Zo Haderekh

TEL AVIV—Opponents of far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held giant demonstrations this weekend on the six-month mark of the war in Gaza to demand his resignation and an immediate ceasefire. Organizers estimated some 100,000 people were in attendance at the main rally in Tel Aviv.

Thousands more joined the call for early elections and a deal to secure the release of the hostages held in Gaza in protests in other cities, including Jerusalem, Haifa, Beer Sheva, Caesarea, Kfar Sava, Karkur, Eilat, Kyriat Gar, and Sha’ar Hanegev. The Israeli media called the demonstrations “the largest since October 7th.”

At the height of the rally in Tel Aviv, a car rammed into the demonstrators in a blatant terror attack. Footage from the scene showed the driver, Haim Sirotkin, an activist with Netanyahu’s Likud Party, driving directly into protesters, yelling before speeding forward and driving over several people. Sirotkin was later arrested.

The protest in Tel Aviv took place near the Ministry of Defense at the Ayalon intersection, the ring road, renamed “Democracy Square.” Among the slogans: “Elections immediately” and “Free the hostages immediately.”

Tel Aviv protesters lit several fires on Kaplan Street, near the military’s offices, which were quickly put out by police with fire extinguishers. The officers then used force to remove the people who took to the streets, while the speakers of the demonstration tried to regain control. The crowd shouted “Police, who exactly are you protecting?” and “[National Security Minister Itamar] Ben-Gvir is a terrorist!”

After the speeches ended in Democracy Square, masses of protesters marched to Begin Street, in front of the Israeli army headquarters, where skirmishes broke out between police and demonstrators.

The police spokesperson released a statement accusing a protester of punching a female officer in the face but later retracted the claim, acknowledging the demonstrator did not act with “malicious intent” after a video of the incident was shared widely online. The officer had her nose broken by a protester who was shoved by another officer, fell backwards, and accidentally hit her face with his elbow.

‘Ceasefire now!’ and ‘Israel-Palestine, two states for two peoples’ were the slogans on banners carried by members of the Hadash coalition and the Communist Party of Israel in Tel Aviv on Saturday, April 6, 2024. | Zo Haderekh

As a group of protesters proceeded northward on Begin Street, they marched toward the headquarters of Israel’s largest labor federation, Histradrut (General Organization of Workers) on Arlozorov Street instead of attempting to block Ayalon Highway, as has happened on many previous Saturday nights.

Outside the union building, demonstrators lit a bonfire and chanted “Strike now!” demanding that Histradrut Chairman Arnon Bar-David declare a large-scale strike against the far-right government. The union chief declared a daylong strike last year in opposition to the government’s judicial overhaul efforts, a move joined by airport workers at Ben Gurion Airport and numerous other labor organizations.

At the hostages’ families protest in Jerusalem, which numbered around 2,000 people, organizer Tom Barkai quoted Carmit Palty-Katzir in her opening speech outside the Prime Minister’s Residence.

“We have seen that our hostages will come back to us through agreements and not through combat,” she said.” In Haifa, Palty Katzir, the sister of slain hostage Elad Katzir, gave a speech in which she blamed the government for the death of her brother.

The People’s Protest, a Haifa group behind the march, published her statement on Facebook just ahead of the demonstration. “The prime minister, members of the war cabinet, and members of the coalition, look at yourselves in the mirror and ask yourselves whether it was not your hand that spilled that blood. You still have 133 hostages to redeem—worlds to save,” she wrote.

In Caesarea, protesters demanding elections and Netanyahu’s resignation flanked police barricades while demonstrating a few hundred meters from Netanyahu’s private residence. At least three persons were detained.

We hope you appreciated this article. At People’s World, we believe news and information should be free and accessible to all, but we need your help. Our journalism is free of corporate influence and paywalls because we are totally reader-supported. Only you, our readers and supporters, make this possible. If you enjoy reading People’s World and the stories we bring you, please support our work by donating or becoming a monthly sustainer today. Thank you!


Zo HaDerekh
Zo HaDerekh

Zo HaDerekh (This Is The Way) is the Communist Party of Israel's Hebrew-language newspaper.