March of the million 311.
(photo credit: Channel 10)
An estimated 300,000 people gathered across the country on Saturday evening to protest for social change as part of the "March of the Million," Channel 10 news reported.
Over 230,000 people were in Kikar Hamedina in Tel Aviv where a huge rally was taking place after a march through the
streets of the city.
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Protests were taking place in 20 different cities
across the the country including in Jerusalem, Haifa and Beersheba.
Police closed major roads to traffic in the cities ahead of the protests.
Demonstrators held signs saying "the people demand social justice."
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
“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.”
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.
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.”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.