Tens of Thousands Rally in Tel Aviv and Other Cities over Judicial Overhaul
On Saturday evening, tens of thousands of people in Israel took to the streets against the legislative efforts for weakening the judicial system in the country dramatically.
Some of the controversial proposals will have their first reading on Monday. A bill has to pass three readings before it becomes a law.
The coalition has indicated that it intends to pass the laws through the Knesset by April.
Organizers stated that on Saturday night, around 145,000 had come out for demonstrations in Tel Aviv and the turnout in other cities of the country had stood at 83,000.
This makes it the highest turnout recorded on the sixth straight demonstration on Saturday night. The police did not provide an estimate of the number of protestors.
The main protest was in Tel Aviv, which started from the Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv and they gathered at Kaplan Street.
The protestors were also allowed to march along the Ayalon Highway by the police. The protestors were waving Israeli flags and had signs that focused on democracy.
Thousands of people also rallied in other towns and cities across the country, which included Petah Tikva, Karmiel, Beersheba, Haifa and Jerusalem.
Thousands of people in Jerusalem gathered outside the residence of the president. They had a moment of silence for the three people killed in a terror attack on Friday afternoon.
One of the speakers at the protest on Kaplan Street was Tzipi Livni, the former justice minister. He said that the election results did not force them to come out on the streets.
He said that it was what the government was doing since elections that had forced them to come out. He said that they were introducing personal laws, persecuting civil servants and want to take over the gatekeepers.
He said that it was fascism. Dan Halutz, the former IDF chief of staff also said if the government moves forward with its judicial overhaul plans, Israelis would not want to work in the military.
Halutz said that people would not want to become military officers under a dictatorship.
There was also a protest outside the home of Yariv Levin, the Justice Minister, in Modiin where several hundred people came together.
In addition, for the first time since the protests started, there was also one held in Efrat, the West Bank settlement.
There have been mass rallies held every Saturday night for six weeks now and there have also been smaller protests during the week by different sectors of society.
These include medical workers, lawyers, students, parents, tech workers and military reservists.
On Thursday night, hundreds of people had also gathered outside the house of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a protest.
Apart from that, there have also been rallies in several European capitals and across the United States. On Monday, a nationwide strike of workers has been called by protest leaders.
This will be an escalation in the protests, given that the controversial proposals will have their first round of voting on Monday.