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Israel arrests dozens amid protests against Knesset vote on judicial overhaul bill

July 11, 2023 at 2:10 pm

Israeli mounted troops intervene to protesters who blocked highways during the protest against the passing of a bill that would curb the powers of the Supreme Court in Tel Aviv, Israel on July 11, 2023 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli police arrested dozens of protesters on Tuesday, amid demonstrations against the passing of a bill that would curb the powers of the Supreme Court, Anadolu Agency reports.

In a statement, police said 16 were arrested in Tel Aviv, 15 in areas in central Israel, 8 in Jerusalem and three near the coastal city of Netanya.

The Israeli opposition staged a series of protests across Israel on Tuesday against a Knesset vote on a bill to limit the Court’s powers.

The bill was passed in the first reading by 64-56 votes. It, however, would require second and third readings in order to be an effective law.

Another bill was also passed that would make it harder to remove the Prime Minister on corruption charges that still hang over Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

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Police said it used water cannons to clear protesters blocking a main road leading to Jerusalem. Other main highways across Israel were also blocked by protesters.

Meanwhile, Israeli opposition groups called on supporters to take to the streets to join today’s protests under the title “Day of Resistance”.

Former Defence Minister, Benny Gantz, urged police to allow protests against the judicial overhaul to continue.

“Many Israelis will go out today to demonstrate against a regime coup that threatens Israeli democracy,” Gantz, head of the National Unity Party, said.

Israel has been in political turmoil in recent months over the planned judicial reform by the Netanyahu government, which the opposition views as a power grab in favour of executive authority.

The Israeli opposition accuses Netanyahu, who is on trial on corruption charges, of using the judicial overhaul to distance away possible judgments against him.

Netanyahu denies the charges and rejects any link between the judicial changes and his own case.

READ: Protesters storm Knesset ahead of vote on judicial overhaul package