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Protests Against Netanyahu Spread to Europe, US

Protests Against Netanyahu Spread to Europe, US

Monday, 6 February, 2023 - 08:45
Israeli protesters attend a rally against controversial government plans to give lawmakers more control of the judicial system, Tel Aviv, February 4, 2023. (AFP)

Demonstrations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government were held on Sunday in 40 Israeli cities across the country as around 100,000 people gathered to protest against legal changes that could weaken the Supreme Court.

Thousands of Israelis demonstrated in several European and US cities.

Protests were held in Berlin, London and Basel in Europe, Vancouver in Canada and Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, New York and Miami in the US.

People chanted slogans denouncing “Netanyahu's plan against harming democracy.”

Netanyahu’s coalition government is seeking to overhaul the judiciary, in what critics perceive as a threat to democracy.

Meanwhile, hundreds of commanders from the Israeli military will hold a 50-km march on Wednesday to protest against the PM and the government. The march will start from the Armored Corps Museum in Latrun to the headquarters of the Supreme Court in West Jerusalem.

General Tal Rousso, who heads the organizing committee, said the demonstration is important because it is led by Israel's most important commanders who will speak out to save the country from dictatorship.

He stressed that the march includes military figures from the right, left and center, as well as from all social strata and sects.

“We have always sacrificed our lives to save the country from enemies. Today, we find ourselves compelled to protect it from the enemies of democracy and the supporters of the government's plan to demolish the judicial system,” Rousso said.

Protests have been held in Israel for the past five week.

On Saturday, some 40,000 people gathered in Tel Aviv for two anti-government protests in the coastal city. They marched for two hours despite the rainy weather. Also, around 10,000 people took to the streets in Haifa and 5,000 people in Jerusalem.

Local media reported that protests were held in 40 cities across the country.

The demonstrators waved Israeli flags and banners reading, “No to the coup,” “No to half democracy” and “Criminal government ruled by corrupt people.”

The protests included activists of the liberal right and even from settlers and the religious right, who only raised the Israeli flag.

In Haifa, opposition leader Yair Lapid took part in the protest. He said: “We will fight here in the streets, we will fight in the Knesset, we will fight in the courts, we will save our country, because we refuse to live in an undemocratic country.”

The government plan to overhaul the judiciary will significantly limit the Supreme Court’s ability to review laws and strike them down.

It also includes passing a law that would allow the governing coalition to override Supreme Court rulings by a simple majority of 61 votes in the 120-member Knesset.

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