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Israel: police have lost control of protests, says official

March 27, 2023 at 12:14 pm

An aerial view of the streets as Israelis continue protests against the Israeli government’s plan to introduce judicial changes, seen by the opposition as an attempt to reduce the powers of the judicial authority in favor of the executive authority as part of the ‘Day of Resistance’ in Tel Aviv, Israel on March 25, 2023. [Gitai Palti – Anadolu Agency]

A senior Israeli security official said on Sunday evening that the police have lost control of the demonstrations taking place in various parts of the country in protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s dismissal of Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, local media have reported. Netanyahu sacked Gallant at the weekend following the latter’s demand for the government to halt the controversial judicial reform law.

“We have lost control of the protests,” Haaretz quoted an unnamed senior police official as saying. “What is happening outside now is madness,” said another, “and whoever thinks they will be able to calm down the events by spraying waste water on the demonstrators again is mistaken. We will not be able to contain this situation.”

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According to Yedioth Ahronoth, “The police forces present at the site are not even preventing access to the street to prevent the arrival of more demonstrators, who are continuing to flock to the site.”

Demonstrators on Ayalon Street in Tel Aviv set tyres on fire in protest at Gallant’s dismissal. On Sunday evening, thousands of Israelis stormed metal barriers erected by the police near Netanyahu’s home in Jerusalem. Thousands of other demonstrators closed a main street in Beersheba in response to the dismissal of the minister.

Netanyahu dismissed Gallant, on Saturday, a day after the latter demanded that the government halt the controversial judicial reform law. Tens of thousands of Israelis have been demonstrating for nearly twelve weeks against the judicial reform planned by the far-right Netanyahu government.