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Massive crowds demonstrate in Tel Aviv — RT World News

The protest took place despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suspending his controversial reforms

Hundreds of thousands of protesters marched through Tel Aviv on Saturday night, demanding that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drop a planned judicial overhaul. The embattled prime minister has already suspended reforms and pledged to negotiate with the opposition, but protesters see his move as a ploy.

Israeli media reported that between 140,000 and 175,000 people attended the rally, while protest organizers put the number of people at 250,000 in Tel Aviv and 450,000 across Israel. The so-called “umbrella movement of resistance against the dictatorship in Israel” said in a statement that the demonstration was “one of the biggest demonstrations in the history of Israel”.

Groups of protesters blocked the normally busy Ayalon highway twice during the evening, The Times of Israel reported. The police used water cannons to clear the road.

Israel has been rocked by continued protests since Netanyahu announced his proposed reforms in January. These legal changes would allow the Israeli parliament to overrule Supreme Court rulings by a simple majority vote, grant the government more power in appointing judges, and limit the court’s ability to review legislation it judges. “unreasonable.”

Netanyahu announced on Monday that he would suspend the reform package, after firing his defense minister, Yoav Gallant, for publicly challenging the plan. While Netanyahu has touted the break as a chance to broker a compromise deal with the opposition, reforms are a key demand from his hardline coalition partners in the Jewish Power party. If these six MKs leave the coalition, Netanyahu will lose his majority and be forced to call new elections.

The Umbrella Movement, however, sees the suspension as an attempt by Netanyahu to buy time until public anger subsides. “Netanyahu’s attempt to lull protesters to sleep failed” says the organization. “We will continue to be on the streets until we guarantee that the State of Israel is a democracy.”

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