Israelis demonstrate against the government’s controversial plan to reform the judiciary

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) —

Israelis continued protests on Saturday for the 23rd week against plans by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right government to overhaul the country’s justice system.

The mass protests began in January shortly after the inauguration of the government, made up of ultra-nationalist and ultra-Orthodox religious parties.

Growing in size and seeing at times a large turnout of more than 200,000 protesters, protest organizers said they would not give up until the government reversed proposed legislative changes rather than delaying them.

The demonstrations have become a weekly opportunity to express themselves on current events in the country.

In the coastal metropolis of Tel Aviv, where the main protest is taking place, bringing together tens of thousands of people, demonstrators held up a giant banner reading “Type of citizen: dead”, a reference to the upsurge in crime among Arab communities in ‘Israel.

Other demonstrators marched behind the effigy of a chained Netanyahu amid a sea of ​​blue and white flags of Israel.

The plan would weaken the judiciary and limit judicial review of laws and government decisions, which critics say poses a direct threat to civil rights and the rights of minorities and marginalized groups. They also warn that it will grant the government unlimited power and upset the country’s system of checks and balances.

The government says the court plan aims to rein in what it says is an overly interventionist Supreme Court and return power to elected lawmakers.

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