Police rush thousands blocking Tel Aviv highway, as chaos over overhaul escalates

Naomi Lanzkron is a news editor at The Times of Israel

Demonstrators gather at a bonfire as they block the Ayalon Highway during a protest rally against the Israeli government's judicial reform, in Tel Aviv on July 24, 2023. (Jack Guez / AFP)
Demonstrators gather at a bonfire as they block the Ayalon Highway during a protest rally against the Israeli government's judicial reform, in Tel Aviv on July 24, 2023. (Jack Guez / AFP)

Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai has given an order to clear Tel Aviv’s Ayalon Highway where thousands of anti-overhaul protesters have congregated, his spokesperson tells Channel 12.

Channel 12’s reporter at the scene says that until 10 minutes ago, the police were allowing the protesters to remain on the highway, “and then suddenly everything changed in a second.”

Large numbers of police officers have deployed on the highway, some of them helmeted, to disperse the protesters.

Footage shows the water cannons firing directly at the protesters, in breach of regulations.

Police are also seen dragging protesters off the road and officers atop horse are seen galloping into crowds, colliding with demonstrators.

The crowd refuses to budge and erupts into the “Democracy or revolution!” chant, as the jubilant crowd on the bridge above bangs on the metal barriers.

At least one protester is injured, as police try to clear the Ayalon Highway.

As the ambulance loads the wounded protester onto a stretcher, the crowd chants “Ben Gvir is a terrorist” and “Shame” at the police officers still trying to keep the crowd off the road. A number of scuffles break out between the police and the crowd, which is largely on the embankments, after water cannons and mounted police were deployed.

Most Popular