Middle East

Israeli protesters begin ‘day of disruption’ against controversial judicial overhaul

By Hadas Gold, Amir Tal and Richard Allen Greene, CNN

Jerusalem CNN  —  Demonstrators took to the streets in Israel on Tuesday for what they are calling a day of “disruption and resistance” against the government’s moves to overhaul the country’s judicial system.

Photos and videos released by protest organizers and Israel Police showed demonstrators on the streets in Tel Aviv, Petach Tikva, and Beer Sheva, among other cities, and CNN saw protesters at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem. At least 42 people had been arrested as of 11 a.m. local time (4 a.m. ET), Israel Police announced.

Lawmakers voted Monday to strip the Supreme Court of the power to declare government actions “unreasonable,” in the first of three votes required for the controversial bill to become law.

The bill is one part of a sweeping package of judicial overhaul measures that would weaken the judiciary. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies call the measures “reforms” and say they are required to re-balance powers between the courts, lawmakers and the government. But opponents of the plan say it threatens to turn Israel into a dictatorship by removing the most significant check on government actions.

Organizers said they had blocked the Ayalon Highway on Tuesday, Tel Aviv’s major thoroughfare, and asserted that police would be unable to clear it due to the number of protesters.

Demonstrators plan to protest at the country’s international airport, Ben Gurion, later on Tuesday.

Large protests against the agenda have taken place in the country since the start of the year. Netanyahu paused the legislative process in March following an unprecedented general strike that shut down much of Israel’s economy. Monday’s vote marks the end of that pause.

This is a developing story. It will be updated…

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