Israel demonstrations: Protesters call for an end to ruling coalition amid plans to reform judiciary
Tens of thousands of Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday to protest plans by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government to overhaul the judicial system.
Israeli media cited around 100,000 people took to the streets of the city in protest.
The weekend’s demonstration was attended by former Prime Minister Yair Lapid, now the leader of the main opposition party, Yesh Atid.
"What you see here today is a demonstration in support of the country. People who love Israel have come here today to defend its democracy, to defend its courts, to defend the idea of coexistence and of [the] common good,” Lapid said.
"The people here who love Israel, who came to demonstrate for a democratic Jewish state according to the values of the Declaration of Independence, will not give up until we win,” he continued.
Protesters filled the streets with Israeli flags and banners that read “The Supreme Court,” and “Israel, We Have A Problem.”
Other protests took place in other cities across Israel – including Jerusalem, Haifa and Beersheba.
Saturday's demonstrations followed another protest last week which also drew tens of thousands in an early challenge to Netanyahu and his ultranationalist and ultra-Orthodox government – the most right-wing in Israeli history.
The government says a power imbalance has given judges and government legal advisers too much sway over lawmaking and governance.
Netanyahu has pledged to press on with the changes despite the opposition.
In addition to the protests, pressure has built up on Netanyahu’s government after the country’s attorney general asked Netanyahu to fire a key cabinet ally following a Supreme Court ruling that disqualified him from serving a government post for a conviction of tax offences.
While Netanyahu is expected to heed the court ruling, it only deepened the rift in the country over the judicial system and the power of the courts.
Earlier this week, Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, vowed to continue with the judicial overhaul despite the protests.
Opponents say the changes could help Netanyahu evade conviction in his corruption trial, or make the court case disappear altogether.