Six Feet Apart
More than 2,000 Israeli citizens flooded Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square on Sunday to protest their government’s overreaching coronavirus policies — while standing six feet apart, in line with social distancing guidelines.
Aerial images and videos of the square show a strikingly consistent web of evenly spaced people.
— איתי בלומנטל Itay Blumental (@ItayBlumental) April 19, 2020
It’s a fascinating look at the realities of political protesting in the age of coronavirus. On one hand, dissent is important for democracy. But on the other, large crowds of people gathering in the streets can give the virus a great opportunity to spread.
“This is how democracies die in the 21st century,” Yair Lapid, chairman of the country’s centrist political party Yesh Atid, said in his speech as quoted by Haaretz, “They don’t die because tanks overtake parliament, they die from the inside.”
מחאת הדגלים השחורים ( צולם בתחילת ההפגנה) pic.twitter.com/LKDBzG9Z0y
— Tomer Appelbaum (@tomerappelbaum) April 19, 2020
The protests are part of the “Black Flag” movement, which started last month when hundreds of cars drove to Jerusalem to protest anti-democratic coronavirus policies.
The protest was aimed at anti-democratic measures passed by prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the ongoing pandemic, which critics say are being used to consolidate power.
“A person with indictments can’t appoint a police chief, a state prosecutor, an attorney general, the judges who will deal with his case,” Lapid said during his speech.
“What connects all the groups and causes is the shout out for Israeli democracy that is being harmed these days by Netanyahu and his allies,” Shaqued Morag, executive director of the anti-occupation group Peace Now, told TIME.
Despite the protests, polls have shown that more than 50 percent of the population approved of his handling of the ongoing pandemic.
“They say, ‘We’ll fight from the inside.’ You won’t fight from the inside,” Lapid said in his remarks. “You don’t fight corruption from within. If you’re inside, you’re part of it.”
READ MORE: Thousands of Israelis maintain social distancing while protesting Netanyahu [Axios]
More on the pandemic: Experts: US Will Need 20 Million Tests per Day to Reopen Safely