Nearly half a million people protest judicial reform despite legislation freeze

“We are for weeks away from the passing of the dictatorial law. Unfortunately, they don’t want to reach a consensus, but only want to gain time and put the protests to sleep.”

By World Israel News Staff

Hundreds of thousands of people protested in Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities against the government’s judicial reform plans for the 13th consecutive Saturday in a row, despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement earlier in the week suspending the legislation and calling for negotiations.

Protest organizers said that 230,000 people were gathered in Kaplan Street and Azrieli Junction in Tel Aviv, and more than 445,000 people nationwide.

Police deployed water cannons to clear dozens of protesters blocking the main Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv.

“Netanyahu’s attempt to put the protesters to sleep failed,” organizers said.

“We are for weeks away from the passing of the dictatorial law. Unfortunately, they don’t want to reach a consensus, but only want to gain time and put the protests to sleep.”

“Over 445,000 pro-democracy demonstrators took to the streets of Israel tonight, in one of the largest demonstrations in Israeli history. We will continue to be in the streets until we guarantee that Israel remains a democracy.”

A group of teenagers at the protest in Tel Aviv were filmed burning their conscription orders, saying they refused to be drafted into an army which practices “occupation and apartheid policies.”

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President Isaac Herzog, under whose auspices judicial reform negotiations are taking place, expressed hope about their progress on Friday.

“In the last few days, my team and I held a round of meetings with the representatives of the coalition and the opposition,” Herzog said. “The meetings were in a good spirit and we talked about the process of the talks for reaching agreements, the organization model, and the way of making decisions.”