Israelis protest for 11th week against judicial reforms

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TEL AVIV - Israelis gathered in towns and cities nationwide on Saturday for an 11th straight week of protests against the judicial reform plans of the hard-right government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The protesters fear that the proposed reforms, which are already moving through parliament and would increase the power of politicians over the courts, are a threat to Israeli democracy.

In Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff square, thousands of demonstrators waved the blue and white Israeli flag, as well as the rainbow flag of the LGBTQ community.

Demonstrators blocked roads as they set off on a march through the heart of the city.

“Saving Democracy!” said one placard held aloft by the crowd.

“I’m worried not about myself, but for my daughters and grandchildren,” said Ms Naama Mazor, 64, a retiree from the city of Herzliya.

“We want to keep Israel democratic and liberal, Jewish of course, but liberal. We are very concerned it is going to become a dictatorship,” she told AFP.

“There isn’t a half-democracy. We’re either a democracy or a dictatorship. There is nothing in between.”

Mr Sagiv Golan, 46, from Tel Aviv, said the government was “trying to destroy civil rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights and every thing that democracy stands for... We want to show the voice of democracy.”

Israeli media reported demonstrations in more than 100 towns and cities, including Haifa, Jerusalem and Beersheba.

Compromise plan nixed

Since Mr Netanyahu’s government announced the reforms in January, days after taking office, massive demonstrations have regularly taken place across Israel.

Opponents of the package have accused Mr Netanyahu, who is on trial on corruption charges he denies, of trying to use the ref...

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