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Tens of thousands rally against Israeli govt for ninth week

Tens of thousands of Israelis have demonstrated against PM Benjamin Netanyahu-led government’s contentious plan to overhaul the country’s legal system, as the government pressed on with the proposed changes despite the mass opposition.

The central city of Tel Aviv saw the largest turnout in this week’s protests on Saturday.

In Tel Aviv, the protesters waved Israeli flags. Other protesters waved Palestinian and pro-minority flags and shouted “Freedom!”

While others held banners with portraits of Netanyahu and hardline ministers between “From Startup Nation to Shutdown Nation” text.

Protests also occurred in Jerusalem and Karmiel near Haifa.

READ MORE: Israelis stage ‘national disruption day’, confront Netanyahu’s wife

‘Severe blow’

The plans were proposed in January, weeks after Netanyahu’s ultranationalist coalition, the most far-right government in the country’s history, was sworn in.

The overhauls have increasingly divided the Israeli community and given momentum to weekly protests every Saturday.

The debate stems from fears that the changes would weaken the Supreme Court, limit judges’ powers, and threaten democratic institutions.

Netanyahu and his allies say they will rein in an unelected judiciary.

The proposals could deal a “severe blow to the economy”, former Bank of Israel governors have warned in the country that dubs itself the “start-up nation”.

On Wednesday, Israeli police fired stun grenades and water cannons at demonstrators who blocked a Tel Aviv highway and protesters scuffled with police near the Israeli leader’s home as weeks of anti-government protests turned violent for the first time.

Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, fraud, and breach of trust charges, and his political partners showed no signs of easing up on a push to pass a series of bills to overhaul Israel’s judiciary.

Protests continue in Israel as Netanyahu presses on with judicial overhaul

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