Hundreds of thousands of people rallied Saturday night across Israel in the tenth consecutive week of demonstrations against the far-right government. Organizers claimed around half a million turned out for the protests nationwide. Media estimated there were at least 200,000 in Tel Aviv alone.
Hadash demonstrators (among them MKs Ofer Cassif and Ayman Odeh) and Anti-Occupation Bloc activists marching in Tel-Aviv with red and Palestinian flags, Saturday evening, March 11, 2023 (Photo: Zo Haderech)
Nationwide, cities like Haifa have seen record-high numbers of protestors, as the number of demonstrators reached around 50,000, breaking a record for the city. Protest organizers said Ra’anana has reported around 9,000 protesters, 3,500 in Kiryat Ono, and upwards of 3,000 in Rehovot. Be’er Sheva is believed to have roughly 10,000 protesters and an estimated 20,000 outside the President’s Residence in Jerusalem. “This is the largest protest night in the history of the State of Israel,” the organizers said in a statement.
Smaller rallies were held in at least 95 different locations across the country, including in Ashdod, Modiin, Netanya, Kfar Saba, Yavne, Herzliya, Beit Shemesh, Rishon Lezion and Bat Yam.
By 9:30 p.m., protesters had blocked for two hours the entrances to the Ayalon Highway in Tel-Aviv, preventing traffic from passing. According to Israel Police, three protesters were arrested during the clearing of the Ayalon Highway.
Organizers said they would further ramp up their response if the government doesn’t shelve the fascist legislation, with a planned “day of escalating resistance” declared for next Thursday. This past Thursday saw protesters stage an unprecedented day of protests and disruption, blocking central Israel’s key Ayalon Highway for some two hours and gumming up roads to Ben Gurion Airport alongside rallies, strikes, blockages and other disruptive activities throughout the country.
The protest organizers on Saturday said that on Wednesday, they would try to disrupt Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned takeoff for Berlin, similar to their effort to interfere with his trip to Rome this weekend, when cars driving at a snail’s pace clogged roads to the airport, forcing the premier to take a chopper to the airport.