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March 9, 2023 10:01 am

Traffic Blocked, Thousands Protest as ‘Day of Resistance’ Underway in Israel

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avatar by i24 News

An aerial view shows Israelis demonstrating as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s nationalist coalition government presses on with its contentious judicial overhaul, in Tel Aviv, Israel March 4, 2023. REUTERS/Ilan Rosenberg

i24 News – The protest movement against the government’s judicial reform plan is waging a “day of resistance against the dictatorship” on Thursday, blocking roads and even maritime routes.

Protesters managed to block one of the countries’ main highways, Ayalon, which connects all of the major highways leading to Tel Aviv. Earlier large crowds of demonstrators flocked to Israel’s main Ben Gurion airport, not far from Tel Aviv, in order to complicate the arrival of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who will fly for an official visit to Italy with his wife.

However, the prime minister and his wife arrived at the airport by helicopter in order to avoid traffic jams.

Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who also came to the airport, criticized the protesters for blocking the roads and preventing people from getting to hospitals or flying on vacations.

“I am the last person to speak out against protests. You are allowed to demonstrate, I demonstrated for decades, protest, shout, this is democracy. Anarchy must not be allowed, this is my directive to the police, it is currently being implemented here and I hope it will continue,” he said.

Hundreds of Israeli reservists also gathered outside the Kohelet Forum buildings in Jerusalem, a right-wing think tank supporting the government’s judicial reforms. Members of the ‘Brothers in Arms’ protest blocked the entrance to the buildings which led to the arrest of five reservists.

In the meantime in the northern city of Haifa, Israeli naval reservists launched a flotilla to disrupt operations at Haifa port.

“This is an emergency and this is our call – SOS – a maritime distress call to save the ship of Israeli democracy and stop it from becoming a state without checks and balances,” the flotilla organizers said in a statement.

Traffic in other parts of the country is also impacted by the protests, with police reporting 14 arrests so far. Nearly 3,000 Israeli security officers have been deployed across the country in response to the protests, according to media estimates.

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