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A flood of more than 120,000 Israelis protest against the government in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv, 21 January (EFE).- A tide of more than 120,000 people once again flooded the streets of Tel Aviv today to protest against the “anti-democratic” and “fascist” policies of Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government, with far-right and religious history of Israel. The massive influx exceeded the expectations of organizers, who wanted to gather about 100,000 protesters after 80,000 last Saturday. In addition, around 4,000 people protested in Jerusalem, 6,000 in Haifa and 1,000 in Beersheva, according to police estimates. “Our children and grandchildren have the right to live in a democratic country. There are many extremist, religious, almost messianic tendencies in this government. When I came to this country, it was an essentially secular nation, free to live. But now they are curtailing our rights,” lamented Diego, an Argentine-Israeli scholar who settled in the country in 1987. Diego carried the Israeli banner along with a black flag, a symbol of anti-Netanyahu protests during his previous government, which called for his resignation after he was accused of corruption. “We managed a political wave that threw him out of government, but stupid decisions on the left and myopia brought back the fascists,” he lamented. AGAINST JUDICIAL REFORM The controversial judicial reform already moving forward in the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) with the aim of undermining the independence of the judiciary and the Supreme Court’s disqualification of ultra-Orthodox leader Aryeh Deri as a minister, while he remains in power and looking for a way around the decision, these were the triggers that encouraged more Israelis to take to the streets for the third Saturday in a row. This reform aims for a simple majority of lawmakers to be able to overturn judgments or Supreme Court decisions, and for the Supreme Court to lose the ability to review appointments of senior government officials if they fail to comply with the law, which will shake the very foundations of democracy and the separation of powers. “The corrupt don’t appoint judges,” “Bibi=Putin,” or “Human rights apply to everyone” are some of the placards read at the demonstrations that read “Democracy” and “Israel is not a dictatorship.” Opposition politicians of all political persuasions took part in the demonstrations from the start and former Prime Minister and opposition leader Yair Lapid took part for the first time today. “People who love the country have come to defend their democracy, their courts, their idea of ​​coexistence and the common good,” Lapid called out to the masses, promising “not to give up until final victory”. The core of the protests was the central Habima Square in Tel Aviv, where he called on the Movement for Quality Government in Israel (MGCI) under the motto “Freedom, Equality and Quality of Government” to “stop the dangerous revolution of the new executive branch this will destroy Israeli democracy,” they explained in their appeal to the population. Other civil society organizations such as Banderas Negras, the student movement or LGTBI groups called on the nearby Kaplan Avenue to let more people in since Habima was overwhelmed last Saturday as more than 80,000 people joined the demonstrations despite the rain LGTBI RIGHTS Along with the hundreds of Israeli flags waving in central Tel Aviv, many protesters also raised the rainbow flag, the emblem of the LGTBI community living under this new government In addition to the homophobic rhetoric of some far-right ministers – they have threatened to ban the Pride Parade – they have proposed a legal clause allowing professionals, including doctors, to refuse to provide services to people whose religious beliefs would violate that group. “It’s discouraging and sad. Change begins with power, with new laws in the Knesset, but then it will take to the streets. We don’t want that to happen, we want people to respect us and other minorities,” Idan said. a 25-year-old gay man who works in the emerging high-tech industry. Idan, who demonstrated for the first time in his life last Saturday for a “democratic, liberal and strong” Israel, is particularly concerned about judicial reform and the reduction in the powers of the Supreme Court, as it is the court that “protects minority rights “. Faced with estimates that the protests would be more massive than earlier Saturday — in part due to the better weather forecast — police deployed more than 1,000 agents across Tel Aviv to ensure they got through without incident and for fear of counter-protesters Right-wing pro-government groups tried to boycott the demonstrations, although they passed without incident. Sara Gómez Armas (c) EFE Agency