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Protesters in Jerusalem continue calls for PM Netanyahu to resign over corruption

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By Mark Armstrong  with AP
Protesters in Jerusalem continue calls for PM Netanyahu to resign over corruption
Copyright  AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo

Despite the cold, weekly protests continued in Jerusalem on Saturday calling for the Israeli Prime Minister to step down over corruption charges.

Demonstrators gathered at a square in the city near Benyamin Netanyahu's official residence.

For seven months the protesters have been calling for the PM to resign.

Netanyahu is charged with fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in three cases involving billionaire associates and media moguls.

He denies the accusations.

His trial is set to begin hearing evidence next month, but demonstrators say he can't properly lead the country while under indictment for corruption.

They also claim Netanyahu and his government have bungled the coronavirus response.

The country has seen its economy hit hard by virus restrictions throughout the year and is again under a nationwide partial lockdown amid surging infection rates.

In March, Israel is due to hold its fourth national elections in two years.

Observers say it's likely to be another referendum on Netanyahu as he faces a challenge from defectors within his Likud party.

Netanyahu and his allies have used Israel's vaccination drive, in which more than a tenth of its population has been immunized, to try to belittle the protesters and their cause.

They say the prime minister is working to end the outbreak while they hold demonstrations.