Israeli parliament passed a law on Wednesday that enables the government to limit public protest during the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown.

The law was approved in a 46-38 vote in an overnight session. The controversial law allows the government to announce a state of emergency for a week, during which it would be able to limit participation in demonstrations to one kilometer from the participants’ homes. The new legislation was widely seen in Israel as a measure to halt the weekly rallies outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem. Thousands of Israelis have been rallying in major crossroads across the country and outside the official prime minister’s residence every Saturday. They call Netanyahu to resign over corruption charges against him and his handling of the coronavirus outbreak and the economic crisis. Netanyahu is facing a criminal trial over three charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three separate cases.

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