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Thousands protest in Israel demanding captive release, government to resign

A person in prison clothes wears a mask depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a demonstration against Netanyahu's government in Tel Aviv, Israel, January 6

A person in prison clothes wears a mask depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a demonstration against the Israeli government in Tel Aviv. [Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters]

Mass protests have taken place around Israel, with demonstrators calling for the return of Israeli captives held in Gaza, the removal of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government and an end to the war in Gaza.

Several thousand supporters, friends and families of the Israeli captives taken by Hamas on October 7 rallied in Tel Aviv’s “Hostage Square” on Saturday, Al Jazeera reporters on the ground said.

“This is unprecedented because, throughout the beginning of this war, everyone had agreed, including the anti-government protesters, that they needed to be unified at a time when there is war, at a time when captives are still being held in Gaza,” said Al Jazeera’s Sara Khairat, reporting from Tel Aviv.

The turnout of people in the square was much higher than in recent weeks when a few dozen to a few hundred people gathered. “Now, quite a few thousand people [are] gathered here,” our correspondent said.

Protesters shouted: “Bushah bushah, bushah”, meaning “shame, shame, shame” in reference to the government, with some also blaming Netanyahu and other officials for the events of October 7.

“This just gives you a sense of how angry some of these people are,” Khairat said.

In Jerusalem, people gathered in front of the house of Israeli President Isaac Herzog to demonstrate, demanding the return of the more than 100 captives still held in Gaza.

Families of hostages and supporters shout slogans as they protest to call for the release of hostages kidnapped on the deadly October 7 attack by Palestinian Islamist grou

Supporters and families of captives held in Gaza shout slogans as they protest to call for their release. [Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters]

Men wrapped in Israeli flags attend a protest of supporters and families of hostages calling for the release of hostages kidnapped on the deadly October 7 attack by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel

Men wrapped in Israeli flags attend a protest in Tel Aviv’s Hostages Square. [Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters]

Families of hostages and supporters protest to call for the release of hostages kidnapped on the deadly October 7 attack by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel, January 6

People hold signs of protest as they call for the release of hostages held in Gaza. [Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters]

A man holds a placard during a demonstration against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government in Tel Aviv, Israel, January 6

A man holds a placard during a demonstration against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government in Tel Aviv. [Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters]

A man carries a weapon as families of hostages and supporters protest to call for the release of hostages kidnapped on the deadly October 7 attack by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel

A man carries a weapon as families of captives and supporters protest in Tel Aviv. [Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters]

People gather in front of the house of Israeli President Isaac Herzog to demonstrate demanding the release of prisoners held by Hamas in Jerusalem on January 06

People gather in front of the house of Israeli President Isaac Herzog in Jerusalem to demand the release of captives held by Hamas. [Saeed Qaq/Anadolu Agency]

People gather in front of the house of Israeli President Isaac Herzog to demonstrate demanding the release of prisoners held by Hamas in Jerusalem on January 06

People gather in Jerusalem to call for the release of captives held by Hamas. [Saeed Qaq/Anadolu Agency]

People gather in front of the house of Israeli President Isaac Herzog to demonstrate demanding the release of prisoners held by Hamas in Jerusalem on January 06

People gather in front of the house of Israeli President Isaac Herzog. [Saeed Qaq/Anadolu Agency]

People gather in front of the house of Israeli President Isaac Herzog to demonstrate demanding the release of prisoners held by Hamas in Jerusalem on January 06

People hold signs at a demonstration in Jerusalem. [Saeed Qaq/Anadolu Agency]

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