Thousands of protesters rally in Tel Aviv amid heavy police presence

Naomi Lanzkron is a news editor at The Times of Israel

Anti-overhaul protesters in Tel Aviv, July 27, 2023. (Naomi Lanzkron/Times of Israel)
Anti-overhaul protesters in Tel Aviv, July 27, 2023. (Naomi Lanzkron/Times of Israel)

Thousands of protesters are streaming into Tel Aviv’s Kaplan Street for a demonstration against the government’s contentious judicial overhaul.

The protests come amid rising fears of an escalation in violence at the demonstrations, after a protest earlier this week that saw clashes between police and demonstrators, and multiple accusations of law enforcement brutality and heavy-handed tactics.

For the first time, trucks have been parked across Kaplan Street to block the road, apparently to prevent vehicles from coming close to the protesters. A driver plowed through a protest group earlier this week, causing injuries.

Someone fires two pink flares into the air and the crowd cheers before breaking into the familiar chants supporting democracy.

There is a heavy police presence along the shoulders of the Ayalon Highway, with the aim of preventing protesters from accessing the road from the embankments and blocking traffic.

As traffic flows freely along the road, there is constant din as motorists honk encouragement to the demonstrators waving flags from the bridge above.

Ido, 47, from neighboring Givatayim waves his flag from the bridge and says that he believes the protests are having an impact.

“If I didn’t think this was going to make a difference, I wouldn’t be here,” he says.

He was at Kaplan on Monday night for the demonstration which ended in clashes between police.

“I feel like on Monday [the protesters] were a lot younger. Lots of them came from [the protest at the Knesset in] Jerusalem earlier that day in their masses,” he says, referring to the rally after the government passed a law curtailing judicial oversight over the decisions of elected officials.

“It felt like there was an awakening,” he says.

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