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Israeli protests against government's judicial overhaul plan enters week 27

Thousands across Israel organized demonstrations Saturday for the 27th consecutive week to protest a government-proposed judicial overhaul scheme, according to media reports.

Broadcaster Channel 13 estimated that nearly 140,000 protesters attended the main demonstration in Tel Aviv, along with thousands who protested in other locations including Jerusalem and Haifa.

"The time to stop the Netanyahu government is now," said historian Yuval Noah in a speech at the rally in Tel Aviv, according to the Times of Israel news website.

Several senior Israeli politicians attended the rallies, including former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who joined a demonstration in front of the official residence of President Isaac Herzog in Jerusalem.

Police said they would uphold the right to protest but warned against what it described as rioting or damaging infrastructure. The Haaretz newspaper reported that at least two protesters were arrested in Tel Aviv.

The bill for the controversial judicial overhaul plan is set to have its first reading in Israel's parliament, or the Knesset, on Monday, with no consensus between the government and the opposition.

Israel has been in political turmoil in recent months over the planned judicial reform by the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which the opposition views as a power grab in favor of executive authority.

Netanyahu, however, insists his plan would enhance democracy and restore balance among the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government.


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