Anti-overhaul protesters face off against Likud supporters in Or Akiva

Israelis protest against the government's planned judicial overhaul in Rosh Pina on March 25, 2023. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)
Israelis protest against the government's planned judicial overhaul in Rosh Pina on March 25, 2023. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)

Several thousand protesters against the government’s judicial overhaul and a smaller number of its supporters face off against each other in Or Akiva near Hadera at a heated encounter that ends in three arrests over alleged violence.

The event on Khana Asayag Square in Or Akiva, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party won a whopping 47% of the votes last election, ends without injury or damage, police say.

The three detainees shoved anti-overhaul protesters as they were leaving the square, police add. Haim Barda, one of the pro-overhaul rally’s organizers, denies violence by any of the demonstrators on his side.

The arrests follow clashes on the square at a face-off last week, which featured intimidation and assaults, allegedly by pro-overhaul demonstrators.

Dwarfed by the overhaul supporters last week, the anti-overhaul demonstrators on Saturday return with reinforcements that appear to give them a narrow numerical advantage.

But the opposing camp comes prepared with powerful speakers and drum sets that drown out much of the other side’s bullhorn speeches and other sounds.

Protesters from both sides vow to return next week as the fight rages on over the overhaul, whose advocates say restores the balance of power by transferring some of it from the judiciary to the legislature, and whose opponents say risks turning Israel into a dictatorship.

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