Nearly 400 march in J'lem social justice protest

By MELANIE LIDMAN
May 12, 2012 22:09
1 minute read.

Nearly 400 people marched in downtown Jerusalem on Saturday night in an international day of protests to mark the beginning of the social justice struggle in Spain one year ago. On May 12, 2011, the first tents sprung up in Spain's major cities, the first country with major tent protests.

"We marched in the summer and the government pissed on it," said Itay Griniasty, a mathematics student at Hebrew University.
"It's amazing that there's an international protest, that all over the world the government in power isn't working," he said.

Protesters said they weren't expecting a carbon copy of last summer, when an explosion of tents across the country prompted the largest social justice protests in the country's history. Griniasty said that last summer was a wake up call, especially for the country's young activists.

"People are more aware now, they've been learning all year, attending lectures, talking, learning new things," he said.

Still, many of the chants for a welfare state and satirical songs about Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's three apartments were recycled from last year's summer protests. Organizers of the march, which was not overseen by any specific group, said they had no idea what to expect over the summer. Many activists agreed that the situation had not changed as a result of last year's protests, and if anything the gaps between social classes had grown.

"Maybe it'll be smaller, but it will be the real voice of real people, and maybe it'll make the government start to really do something," said Amnon Rabinovitz, one of the organizers and a history and civil studies teacher in Jerusalem.
"I feel frustrated," he said. "We asked for a lot (last summer) and these things didn't happen."


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