Israelis protest legal overhaul plans for 11th week
TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Israelis took to the streets Saturday to protest, now in its 11th week, against plans by the hardline government of Benjamin Netanyahu to overhaul the country’s justice system.
Protesters say the proposed changes undermine the country’s democracy by restricting the power of the Supreme Court. Netanyahu and his allies say the plan is necessary to limit what they claim are excessive powers of unelected judges.
The main protest in downtown Tel Aviv drew tens of thousands of people who waved Israeli flags and banners reading “Dead End!” and “Risk Ahead!” Smaller protests were reported in other parts of the country.
On Wednesday, Netanyahu swiftly rejected a compromise proposal by Israeli President Isaac Herzog to resolve the impasse, deepening the crisis around a program that has rocked the country and drawn international criticism.
Israeli police deployed a water cannon to disperse protesters gathered at a major intersection in Karkur, a town in northern Israel.
Video obtained by The Associated Press showed the water cannon spraying at protesters as they chanted “Democracy,” in Hebrew. It was not immediately clear if anyone had been injured.
Netanyahu and his allies in the ultranationalist and religious coalition have pledged to push forward legal changes despite the protests. Business leaders, legal experts and retired military leaders have joined the protests, and Israeli reservists have threatened to stop showing up for work if the overhaul passes.
In the latest stage of overhaul plans, Israel’s parliament on Monday introduced a bill that would make it harder to oust Netanyahu over the corruption charges against him, as he pursues the broader plan to overhaul the system. judicial.
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