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Tens of thousands of Israelis demonstrated Thursday, March 23, 2023, to protest the judicial reform that the government is discussing, and clashed with the police, who said they had arrested dozens of them.
The police explained that the arrests were made on charges of disturbing public order in Tel Aviv.
During the clashes, police used water cannons to disperse crowds blocking Tel Aviv’s Ring Road, an AFP journalist reported.
In Jerusalem, thousands gathered in front of the home of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to Israeli media sources.
Other demonstrations were held in Haifa (north) and Beersheba (south).
However, the Israeli police did not provide an estimate of the number of demonstrators.
The organizers of the demonstrations on Thursdays have been carrying out what they call a “day of resistance” for more than two and a half months, after Justice Minister Yariv Levin presented the reform project, which is causing widespread controversy and internal divisions.
Opponents of the project consider that it aims to undermine the judicial authority in favor of the political authority, warning that it constitutes a threat to the democratic system.
As for Netanyahu and his allies, the amendment constitutes an essential step for them to restore balance to the branches of power, especially since they see that the Supreme Court judges are politicized and enjoy higher power than that of elected representatives.
The Israeli government rejected a settlement proposal presented by President Isaac Herzog.
Herzog’s project maintained the government’s argument to limit the Supreme Court’s ability to strike down basic laws, but proposed amendments to controversial points in the reform.