Some 5,000 people marched down Ibn Gvirol Street on Saturday night, in what appeared to be the largest such protest in Tel Aviv since last summer.

The demonstrators had the same spirit and chants as last year – if not the numbers – with calls of “The people want social justice” and “Take to the streets, the country is crumbling” echoing through central Tel Aviv.

Dozens of protesters also brought pots and pans in solidarity with the ongoing student protests in Montreal, providing the march with a migraine-inducing din.



When met with the Passover-style “How is this night different from other nights” question, Stav Shafir, one of the leaders of last year’s protests, said, “This is the beginning of the summer.

“We are back here again en masse in the street, no matter how much they’ve tried to take away our hope,” she said.

Other protests were held in Jerusalem and Haifa, also under the banner: “All of the country out in the streets – bringing back hope and justice.”

Shafir addressed the recent unity government agreement signed between Kadima and the ruling Likud Party, saying that public distaste for the deal helped bring more people out to the streets.

The protest was marked by the absence of Daphni Leef, the young Tel Avivian woman who set up a tent on Rothschild Boulevard last July 14 to protest high rents, launching the J14 movement.

On her Facebook page earlier on Saturday, Leef said she could not attend because of a personal engagement.

For some time, Shafir has eclipsed her as the most prominent face of the protests.

A contingent of MKs and activists from the Meretz Party joined the march in Tel Aviv on Saturday night.

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