ALBAWABA - Tens of thousands of Israelis took to the streets in the largest protest march across the country since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he intends to carry out judicial reforms. The demonstrations come days after Netanyahu suspended the amendments.
Live update: Two arrested at anti-overhaul protest; pro-overhaul demonstrator nabbed with taser https://t.co/wNrXM5tTu3— TOI ALERTS (@TOIAlerts) April 1, 2023
Saturday's protest was called to show rejection against the judicial amendments that Netanyahu's government may plan in the future.
Live update: Protesters again block Ayalon Highway; 165,000 said demonstrating in Tel Aviv https://t.co/YCgL33IoIT— TOI ALERTS (@TOIAlerts) April 1, 2023
The demonstrators demanded Netanyahu's government to completely scrap the idea, instead of just suspending the decision.
International media outlets quoted the protest organizers as saying that "the government does not want to reach an agreement, it just wants to buy time."
Protesters carried Israeli flags chanting "democracy," and banners, which read: "Democracy is stronger than this government" and "Arrest Netanyahu."
Live update: Mounted policeman hits female demonstrator at Tel Aviv anti-overhaul protest https://t.co/V18O8O3MnD— TOI ALERTS (@TOIAlerts) April 1, 2023
On Monday, the Israeli prime minister said he was putting off plans to introduce the draft bill after mass protests and a general strike struck different areas of the country. He said the aim was to "make room for dialogue" and reach a compromise that satisfies Netanyahu's right-wing "Likud" party, the ultra-orthodox government coalition and opposition parties.
Mounted police officer beats protester at anti-government demonstration Tel Aviv https://t.co/RPXnTS9aqL— The Times of Israel (@TimesofIsrael) April 2, 2023
There were conflicting reports on the number of protesters. While some estimates put it at 150,000 in different parts of Israel, others said the number was three times more.
Rallies were organized in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other cities, but the largest was in Tel Aviv and attracted opposition leader Yair Lapid.
Live update: Lior Schleien: Protesters won’t let government carry out overhaul plans https://t.co/ZTwC42em2M— TOI ALERTS (@TOIAlerts) April 1, 2023
The protests witnessed individual clashes with the police, which ended up with the arrest of some demonstrators. Tel Aviv police reportedly used water cannon to disperse the crowds.
‘Government made mistake of their lives’: Hundreds of thousands protest overhaul https://t.co/qsPHPvUbXg— The Times of Israel (@TimesofIsrael) April 1, 2023
Israel's parliament, or Knesset, had approved a draft "Judicial Reform Law," which would have limited the power of the Supreme Court and the judicial branch of power generally in favor of the Cabinet.
Opponents described the draft bill as a "coup." They insisted that the bill would "destroy democracy."
Netanyahu insisted, however, that the amendment aims to restore balance between the branches of power.