Thousands of Israelis took to street on Saturday in Tel Aviv to protest against what they say is economic hardship caused by the government’s mishandling of the coronavirus crisis.

Rabin Square was filled with mainly young protesters wearing masks but not observing social distancing, the BBC reported.

They say government compensation payments have been slow to arrive.

The event was organised by small businesses, self-employed workers and performing artists’ groups.

Many are experiencing economic hardship and have been angered by coronavirus measures which have taken their livelihoods away.

“We need the government to pump in money until we’re back to normal. We haven’t been working since mid-March through April, May, June and July, and August is looking to be a catastrophe”, Michal Gaist-Casif, vice-president of a sound and lighting company said.

On Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met activists to discuss their frustrations and said, “We will meet our commitments including hastening the immediate payments that we want to give you,” his office quoted him as telling them.

Late June, hundreds of Israelis protested against Netanyahu outside his Jerusalem residence as the Israeli prime minister faces corruption charges.

In May, Netanyahu was sworn back into office as head of a rare national unity government, was expected to attend the opening session of the trial.

Netanyahu, a hardline leader of the right-wing Likud party, has served as the Prime Minister since 2009.

Israel imposed a strict lockdown in mid-March but started lifting restrictions in late May. Unemployment has risen to 21 per cent.

The country has seen spike in coronavirus cases with nearly 1,500 new cases reported on Friday. A total of 354 people have died from COVID-19 in Israel, according to Johns Hopkins University data.