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Thousands take part in ‘Day of Paralysis’ protests in Israel

Thousands of Israeli protesters have taken to the streets, blocked main roads with some being arrested across the occupied territories in what they call “A Day of Paralysis” to protest plans by prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's far-right cabinet to overhaul the regime’s judicial system.

Protest organizers began a fresh day of demonstrations on Thursday, with dozens of large gatherings expected to draw as many as half a million people to the streets in major cities, on highways and outside the residences of the members of the coalition cabinet.

A group of Israeli military reservists unveiled banners on the statue of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, at the entrance to the coastal city of Herzliya.

They then turned their attention to Shas leader Aryeh Deri, gathering outside his home in al-Quds.

Deri, a key ally of Netanyahu, is the beneficiary of a bill passed in the Knesset (Israeli parliament) on Monday that will allow him to return to his ministerial posts after the high court ruled that his position in the cabinet was unreasonable in the extreme due to a recent criminal conviction.

Burning tires are seen at the entrance to the port in the southern Israeli coastal city of Ashdod on March 23, 2023 during a protest against plans by prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet to overhaul the regime’s judicial system. (Photo via Twitter)

The protesters at Deri’s home said in a statement that people in the area had thrown eggs at them.

Another demonstration took place outside of the home of education minister Yoav Kisch, with an air force reservist being arrested, according to media reports.

Hundreds of Israeli reservists say they are joining judicial protests

In Tel Aviv, children and their families marched through the city’s main roads and blocked junctions. Demonstrators blocked Kaplan Street, a major thoroughfare in the central section of the city.

Police deployed water cannons in the afternoon to disperse demonstrators blocking Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv. Earlier in the day, water cannons were used in the coastal city of Haifa.

In the southern coastal city of Ashdod, hundreds of navy veterans blocked the southern entrance to the port.

They burned tires, sending up plumes of thick black smoke. The protesters were heard chanting “We will paralyze businesses until Bibi surrenders.”

More than 100 towns, cities rise up in 11th week of protests against Netanyahu's 'judicial reforms'

Israeli media reported that protest leader Shikma Bressler was arrested during a demonstration outside the premises of Rafael military company in Haifa. She was reportedly arrested for encouraging protesters to block the road.

Bressler was detained at a police station and freed later on. Her release was conditioned upon her not returning to the demonstration site for the next five days.

Thursday’s protests came as lawmakers ratified a law limiting the circumstances in which a prime minister can be removed. Opponents warn that the move may be meant to shield Netanyahu from any fallout from his corruption trials.

Israeli protesters have held nearly three months of mass demonstrations, with the largest rallies generally occurring on Thursdays and Saturday nights, to express and raise opposition to Netanyahu’s plans to overhaul the regime’s judicial system.

On Wednesday, they gathered outside the Knesset and at conferences attended by lawmakers as well as at some of their homes.

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