Police began deploying and roads were closed to traffic over 12 hours
before a mass rally that social justice organizers hope will top last
week's estimated nationwide turnout of 150,000, saying that after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu passed his housing reform law in the Kneest, "there's more anger now.
Early Saturday morning, Rehov Kaplan in Tel Aviv, a major traffic
artery, was closed to traffic. Other Tel Aviv streets will be closed
Saturday evening ahead of the third weekly march put on by the housing
movement calling for "social justice."
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evening at 7 p.m., stretches of Ibn Gvirol, Dizengoff, Ben Zion and
Rothschild will be closed ahead of the march. Police were deploying in
large numbers Saturday morning, with hundreds set to take to the
streets to protect marchers and maintain order ahead of the rally. Kaplan was expected to
reopen at 4 a.m. Sunday morning, while the other streets were expected
to reopen for traffic shortly after midnight.
Furious over what
they call repeated government rejection of their demands, protesters
hope to hold “the mother of all demonstrations” across Israel on
Roee Neuman, spokesman for the tent-city protest movement, told The
Jerusalem Post on Thursday evening that the size and intensity of
Saturday night’s protests will be greatly influenced by the Knesset’s
approval on Wednesday of the national housing committees law – a central
sticking point for the movement.
"For us, the passing of the law will be a huge influence on the
demonstration, and is one of the main reasons that we called for it,”
When asked if the protests will have a more aggressive and angry tone
following the law’s approval, he replied, “that's for sure. There is
much more anger now. At first, we were angry about a moderate situation,
and now they’ve shown us that they aren’t going to let it be solved.”
In a move that will likely bolster the already-large protests taking
place for over three weeks, Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini on Friday
called on all workers to join the central march in Tel Aviv.
In an interview with Channel 2 news Eini said "I call on the workers
tomorrow to join the protest and make sure it has a powerful impact so
that we can succeed in making a change in this country."
Eini said that the Histadrut leadership "represents 800,000 families
from every echelon of society. If all these people come tomorrow in an
organized fashion and join the protest, things will happen, and that's
what I'm trying to initiate."
The main protest in Tel Aviv will set out from the Rothschild tent city at 9 p.m.
and head down Ibn Gvirol Boulevard to Kaplan Street, where the rally
will be held along the entire length of the street, in front of the
Interior Ministry building and the IDF headquarters.
Organizers say the boulevard will be able to hold far more people than Tel Aviv Museum, the site of the past two protests.
At 7:30 p.m., a march will set off from the tent city at Levinsky Park
in south Tel Aviv to Rothschild Boulevard, where it will link up with
the main campsite ahead of the larger march.
While the crowds gather in Tel Aviv, students plan on holding a
demonstration in Jerusalem. The rally at Paris Square in Jerusalem will
begin with a march from the campsite at Gan Hasus to Zion Square, before
making its way through Independence Park to Paris Square.
Following last week’s impressive turnout – one of the largest
demonstrations held in Israel in decades – there has been some
skepticism over whether or not the movement would be able to repeat such
an overwhelming participation.
According to Neuman, the question is a foregone conclusion. “I think that we are at our peak of momentum,” he said.
“There was the protest by the Histadrut today and the stroller marches
across Israel, also. It’s only getting bigger and bigger, and people
keep telling us ‘that’s it’ – but it just keeps growing.”
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