Sunday, September 4, 2011

Israeli cities rocked by mass demos

Israeli protesters demonstrate in Tel Aviv on September 3, 2011.

Source: Press TV

Large crowds of Israeli protesters have swarmed into the streets in three large cities for what the organizers have dubbed a million-man march.

Demonstrators gathered on Saturday in 50 towns and cities, including Tel Aviv and al-Quds (Jerusalem) as well as the northern city of Haifa.

A Press TV correspondent in Tel Aviv said at least 200,000 people had gathered in the streets of the city.

The march is believed to be the largest of several demonstrations held over the past few weeks to protest against Israel's handling of the economy and its social policies.

The protesters are angry about the high cost of living, especially the cost of food, gasoline, education, and healthcare. They are also complaining about what they call social injustice and the widening chasm between the rich and the poor.

If successful, Saturday's massive march could mount pressure on Israeli leaders to announce early Knesset (parliament) elections, which could spell heavy losses for hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet.

Netanyahu, who has been facing calls to step down, has formed a committee to address the protesters' demands. But the demonstrators say no single concrete step has been taken so far.

Netanyahu has also ruled out the idea of spending from outside the budget for economic reforms, a response that Israeli protesters say disillusioned them.

Anti-regime protests erupted in Israel in mid-July as activists began setting up tents in Tel Aviv to protest against Netanyahu's economic and social policies.

Thousands of Israelis staged protest marches in the city of East al-Quds (Jerusalem) last Saturday, with similar anti-regime demonstrations held in other cities.

Many of the demonstrators are also opposed to Israel's illegal expansion of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The organizers of the demonstrations have been using social networking websites to rally support for the demos and have vowed that the protests will continue until their demands are met.

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