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Protests across Israel ahead of vote on judicial overhaul bill vote

<i>Corinna Kern/Reuters</i><br/>Protesters in Tel Aviv
Corinna Kern/Reuters
Protesters in Tel Aviv

By Amir Tal and Ingrid Formanek, CNN

Jerusalem (CNN) — Large crowds of protesters across Israel have come out in the 27th consecutive week of demonstrations against the government’s judicial overhaul plans.

Organizers say protesters are out in force and estimate 365,000 people have come out in cities around the country, with 180,000 people in the streets of central Tel Aviv alone, among the largest protests so far.

The protests come just before the bill to lessen judicial oversight of the executive and legislative branches will get its first reading in the Knesset, the national legislature, on Monday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has renewed its efforts to pass judicial overhaul, this time in stages, after six months of fierce opposition from center, left and even right-wing citizens, military reservists, and political parties.

This second effort is galvanizing protesters across the country, with a spokesman for the national protest movement promising an “all nighter.”

At the end of June, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said one the most controversial aspects of his government’s proposed judicial reform, a provision allowing the Knesset to overturn Supreme Court rulings, has been dropped.

Israel has no check on the power of the Knesset other than the Supreme Court.

As the protests reached their peak this Saturday, social media videos and Israeli press reported Israeli police using water cannons to clear demonstrators from blocking one of Tel Aviv’s main highways.

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