Jerusalem: A total of around 260,000 people have participated in yet another nationwide protest against the controversial Israeli judicial reform, The Times of Israel reported.
Protests against the reform have been held in Israel for 11 straight weeks.
On Saturday, some 175,000 demonstrators gathered in Tel Aviv, The Times of Israel said, adding that another 85,000 people protested in other Israeli cities. In Jerusalem alone, some 10,000 demonstrators gathered outside the presidential residence.
According to the newspaper, police used water cannons against demonstrators in northern Israel. Several protesters were detained while trying to block the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the police and the prosecutor’s office on Friday to take strict measures in response to violence against state officials by opponents of the government’s judicial reform.
In January, Israeli Justice Minister Yariv Levin rolled out a legal reform package that would limit the authority of the Supreme Court by giving the cabinet control over the selection of new judges, as well as allowing the Knesset to override the court’s rulings with an absolute majority. In mid-February, the Israeli parliament approved the first part of the legislation. The second half was approved by the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, at the beginning of March.
The reform’s opponents argue it will undermine democracy in Israel and put the country on the verge of a social and constitutional crisis.