'March of the Million': Over 100,000 gather in Tel Aviv

Over 153,000 people gather across country to take part in social protest movement marches, rallies being held; protesters in Tel Aviv's Kikar HaMedina prepare for huge rally.

By JPOST.COM STAFF,
September 3, 2011 19:59
3 minute read.

March of the million 311. (photo credit: Channel 10)

 
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Over 100,000 people gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday evening for social movement protests taking place as part of the “March of the Million.”

People were gathering in Kikar Hamedina in the city where a huge rally was set to take place after a march through the streets of the city. 

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Over 153,000 people had gathered across the country to join protests and rallies in over 20 different cities, Channel 10 news reported.

The demonstration was billed as the climactic street protest of a movement that has seen tent cities sprout up and forced quality-of-life issues into the forefront of the political debate.

In Tel Aviv, where the largest of the marches was set to take place, protesters gathered in HaBima Square and made their was to Kikar HaMedina. The procession was set to head toward Marmurak Street, and then to Jabotinsky Street before arriving in Kikar HaMedina.

Speakers at the rally include protest organizer Daphne Leif and Sherry Tanenbaum. Performing acts included Eyal Golan, Hadag Nachash and stars of the television show Eretz Nehederet.


“We’ve reached a turning point in the movement. For six weeks [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu has seen what we’re doing and has not given us any respectful sort of response. If after September 3 he still hasn’t, then it will be clear that we don’t have a partner and we have no choice but to launch a long-term protest that could take years,” Shir Nosatzki, one of the activists at the center of the tent-city protest, said on Thursday. “The path is long, but we are capable of going down this road.”

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Activists have attached an historic sort of pre-game hype to the event, with the tag line “Where were you on September 3?” attached to posters and flyers, invoking the question “where were you on November 5” asked about the night in 1995 that prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated.

Itzik Shmuli, head of the National Union of Students, also spoke in prophetic terms regarding coming protest, saying in a statement on Thursday that “this Saturday we are taking our socioeconomic fate into our own hands. If we don’t come to the protest we will hand our fate over for the next 25 years.”

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The High Court of Justice ruled on Friday that the Transport Ministry would run increased numbers of trains and replacement bus services on Saturday night, to allow people to travel to Tel Aviv to take part in the "March of the Million" protest.

The emergency hearing was the result of a petition filed by attorney Shraga Biran of the 'Awakening In Jerusalem' social movement, after Israel Railways announced plans to close the Jerusalem - Tel Aviv and Beersheba - Tel Aviv lines on Saturday night.

The petition argued that the rail line closures made it impossible for those without private transport to travel to Tel Aviv to attend Saturday night's social justice protest march.

As part of the judgment, made by Supreme Court Justice Hanan Melzar, Israel Railways have placed a notice on their website stating that extra trains will run on the Tel Aviv coastal line and that the Transport Ministry will run replacement bus lines on the Tel Aviv-Beersheba and Tel Aviv-Jerusalem routes.


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