For the 22nd week in a row, tens of thousands have taken to the streets across the occupied territories in protest at the extremist policies of the Israeli prime minister’s far-right cabinet.
The rallies took place in Tel Aviv and other cities on Saturday, with the regime’s media estimating the number of protesters at around 100,000 in the coastal city of Tel Aviv alone.
The rallies have been taking place every Saturday since Benjamin Netanyahu announced his intention to push through with his controversial and highly unpopular judicial overhaul plan.
If passed through the Knesset, the plan would rob the regime’s Supreme Court of the power to overrule politicians’ decisions. The political figures would be also empowered to significantly influence the process of selection of the court’s judges.
Netanyahu’s cabinet, a crossover among his Likud Party as well as hard-right and ultra-Orthodox allies alleges that the overhaul is needed to end decades of overreach by judicial authorities, while opponents say the changes threaten to usher in a “dictatorship.”
Faced with overwhelming public pressure, Netanyahu put the plan on a temporary pause in late March, although his extremist cabinet has vowed to push ahead with it.
Several Israeli leaders have warned that the entity is facing “real danger” as back-to-back protests have hit cities amid bitter rifts over the extremist direction of the regime. They include Israeli president, Isaac Herzog, who has warned of “collapse” and “implosion.”
“We will keep demonstrating to show them that even if they have paused the … plan, we will stay mobilized — they will not be able to pass laws on the sly,” a protester told AFP.
The Saturday rallies came after on Friday, several hundred people gathered outside Netanyahu’s private residence in north of Tel Aviv in a demonstration that the police labeled as unauthorized.
Israeli forces clashed with the protesters, arresting a total of 17 people, three of whom were detained close to Netanyahu’s residence and 14 others outside police stations.
Footage emerging from the rallies showed security forces trying to forcefully evict the protesters from the area by shoving and beating them.
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