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Police and protesters clash in Tel Aviv as rallies across Israel demand Gaza ceasefire

Police and protesters clashed in Tel Aviv on Saturday night after a day of rallies calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and for the return of all hostages, according to several videos posted on social media.

In the videos, horse-mounted police and water cannons can be seen in Tel Aviv’s Democracy Square attempting to disperse crowds refusing to leave, resulting in violent clashes.

At a separate protest, police said they arrested two people “for disorderly conduct” after they allegedly left the approved demonstration site at the Kaplan intersection, headed to the Azrieli intersection and “lit fires and began to break the order, not obeying the police’s instructions.”

“A police officer declared the demonstration illegal and warned that if they did not disperse the police would be forced to use measures,” police added in a statement.

The clashes followed anti-government protest marches that took place in several cities across Israel, calling for the release of hostages taken during Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel on Oct 7, and for a general election.

Around 250 people were taken hostage during Hamas’ surprise October 7 attack on southern Israel, in which 1,200 people were killed, according to Israeli officials. Since then, Israel’s retaliatory war on Hamas in Gaza has killed more than 35,000 Palestinians, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza.

Many of the protesters in the streets of Tel Aviv, Haifa, Rehovot and beyond on Saturday took aim at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accusing his government of corruption and criticizing his handling of the war against Hamas.

Families of current and past hostages also held a rally calling for an immediate resumption of negotiations with Hamas to “advance a deal that will bring them all back.”

Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) believes 125 hostages are still being held in Gaza, following the release deal in November that freed more than 100.

Of those still in Gaza, 121 were kidnapped on Oct 7; the four others were already being held before the attacks.

The PMO believes that at least 37 of the hostages still in the Gaza Strip are dead.

The Egyptian official said the talks would take place in Cairo.

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