Israelis launch fresh protests against Netanyahu government's judicial reform plans

© Ahmad Gharabli, AFP

Tens of thousands of Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday night to protest plans by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government to overhaul the judicial system, measures that opponents say imperil the country's democratic fundamentals.

Israeli media, citing police, said some 100,000 people were out protesting.

The protest followed another demonstration last week that also drew tens of thousands in an early challenge to Netanyahu and his ultranationalist and ultra-Orthodox government — the most right-wing in Israeli history.

The government says a power imbalance has given judges and government legal advisers too much sway over lawmaking and governance. Netanyahu has pledged to press on with the changes despite the opposition.

Protesters filled central streets in the seaside metropolis, raising Israeli flags and banners that read “Our Children will not Live in a Dictatorship” and “Israel, We Have A Problem.”

“This is a protest to defend the country,” said opposition leader and former Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who joined the protest. “People came here today to protect their democracy.”

“All generations are concerned. This is not a joke,” said Lior Student, a protester. "This is a complete redefinition of democracy.”

Other protests took place in the cities of Jerusalem, Haifa and Beersheba.

(AP)


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