Thousands hit streets in TA social justice protest

Several hundred protesters break off from main march, blocking Namir Road; hundreds protest in J'lem, attempt to block light rail.

TA social justice march 370 (photo credit: Moshe Raphaely)
TA social justice march 370
(photo credit: Moshe Raphaely)
A week after social justice demonstrations turned violent, with activists and police trading blame for instigating clashes, protesters hit the streets again on Saturday evening for a  demonstration march in central Tel Aviv.
Some 8,000 people arrived at the Tel Aviv Museum complex on Saturday night as part of the march which began at Habima Square.
Several hundred protesters broke off from the main march and continued to Namir Road, where they blocked traffic.
Activists said in a statement that they planned to unveil a social contract signed by 20 social organizations, laying out concrete demands to the government ahead of the upcoming passage of the budget.
"Almost a year has passed since we first went out in the streets with very clear demands of the government of Israel," the Forum for Social Justice said in a statement. "The attempts by the government to say that they don't understand demonstrates a lack of receptiveness and closed eyes. Today we say to the government of Israel, 'Open your eyes, we are asking that you increase the investment in your citizens. We are those that hold up the State of Israel on our shoulders. The money you will distribute in the upcoming budget is not yours, it belongs to the citizens. You have only been tasked with fairly distributing it.'"
The activists emphasized that Saturday's protest march was approved and coordinated with police. Several central Tel Aviv streets were closed as a result of the demonstration, including Marmorek Street and large sections of Ibn Gvirol Street.
Last Saturday night protesters held a march against police brutality, during which they blocked off the Ayalon freeway and vandalized three banks. Police arrested 89 people during the protest and were criticized afterwards for what many called an overly forceful response to the march.
Several hundred social justice protesters took part in a demonstration march in Jerusalem on Saturday evening.
The procession began at Paris Square and ended at Gan Hasus. The marchers were accompanied by police forces.
The marchers attempted to go onto the tracks of the Jerusalem Light Rail on a number of occasions but were cleared off by police.
Ben Hartman contributed to this report.