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"Tens of thousands" of Israelis protested in the streets of Tel Aviv, and hundreds of others elsewhere, against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in what has been labelled as "march of shame" by anti-government campaigners.

Many of them were seen carrying placards calling for the removal of Netanyahu whom they called "Crime Minister" on Saturday (2 December) night.

The protesters have been outraged by attempts to push through a new bill which would effectively shield Netanyahu from police investigations.

The Israeli premier is linked to two corruption allegations – the first relates to accepting gifts from a wealthy businessman while the second is over a murky deal with a media owner for better coverage.

The bill is coming up for a second reading in the Israeli parliament on Monday, 4 December. If the draft legislation becomes law, it will prevent the police from publishing their findings and recommendations for an indictment.

The protesters called for Netanyahu's imprisonment as they chanted slogans against the government and its alleged nexus with businessmen. Slogans against Netanyahu echoed across Tel Aviv's landmarks such as Rothschild Boulevard and Habima Square.

Other cities including Haifa, Rosh Pina and Jerusalem also witnessed anti-government rallies. "One of the things the prophets of Israel knew how to admonish the people as well, and beyond that, they knew how to courageously rebuke their kings when they were led astray," said Uzi Azad, former adviser to Netanyahu and one of the leaders of the anti-corruption demonstrations.

"In a civilised country, the government would have established a body to fight corruption... because otherwise corruption cannot be eradicated. Instead, the authorities are doing the complete opposite, which is very suspicious," added Azad.

Though the police did not give an estimate of the number of people at the rallies, local media said "tens of thousands" took part, with the minimum figure said to be 20,000.

"Corrupt governments don't win, and it doesn't matter how many tanks, planes and submarines they buy. Bibi, I tell you... history will not forgive you for what you're doing today," said Major General Amiram Levin, another key speaker at the protest.