Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Royal decree on low-cut tops

Read more

DEBATE

Ukraine, The Escalation: No Stopping Putin? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Ukraine, The Escalation: No Stopping Putin?

Read more

FOCUS

Bangladesh: Textile workers' lives still at risk?

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

José Bové, Candidate for the EU Commission presidency, Group of the Greens

Read more

WEB NEWS

NYPD's online campaign backfires

Read more

ENCORE!

Celebrating the Bard's birthday in Britain

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yuki Tatsumi, Senior Associate of the East Asia Program, Stimson Center

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

USA: Executions halted over drugs secrecy

Read more

  • Russia orders military drills as Ukraine moves on separatists

    Read more

  • Israel halts Middle East peace talks over Hamas deal

    Read more

  • A radio station preaches peace and tolerance in CAR

    Read more

  • Platini: PSG in danger over Financial Fair Play rules

    Read more

  • Ségolène Royal denies banning cleavage at French ministry

    Read more

  • Afghan guard kills US doctors in Kabul hospital attack

    Read more

  • Palestinian unity deal stirs anger in Israel

    Read more

  • Video: Mayor in east Ukraine ready ‘to turn Slaviansk into battlefield’

    Read more

  • US would defend Japan in islands dispute, Obama says

    Read more

  • New far-right mayor moves to quash Paris region mosque

    Read more

  • US soldiers arrive in Poland as Ukraine crisis continues

    Read more

  • Fatah, Hamas agree to form Palestinian unity government

    Read more

  • Millions of Syrians desperately need aid, says UN

    Read more

  • Muslims in CAR pray for an escape route

    Read more

  • Madrid beat Bayern 1-0 in first leg of Champions League semis

    Read more

  • Britain's ex-PM Blair warns against spread of radical Islam

    Read more

  • Turkish PM offers condolences to descendants of Armenians killed in 1915

    Read more

  • Gay marriage, one year on: ‘French civilisation did not crumble’

    Read more

  • Colombian president reinstates firebrand Bogota mayor

    Read more

  • NYPD public relations campaign on Twitter goes awry

    Read more

  • In pictures: Violent protests erupt in Rio

    Read more

Middle east

Israeli protesters rally for 'social justice'

©

Video by Karen Creed

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-09-04

Several hundred thousand people took to the streets across Israel Saturday to protest against the cost of living and for 'social justice'. Protesters accused the government of failing to take their calls for sweeping economic reforms seriously.

AFP - An estimated 400,000 Israelis poured into streets across the Jewish state on Saturday to protest the high cost of living, after organisers called for a "million-man march" to revitalise their movement.

The estimated figures were record-breaking, exceeding even the 300,000 people who took part in similar demonstration on August 6, and lending new life to the six-week old movement calling for sweeping economic reforms.

Israeli news channel 10 estimated that 400,000 people were demonstrating in cities and towns across the Jewish state, taking to the streets shortly after the end of the Jewish Sabbath.

Protests transform Tel Aviv into urban campground

Israeli police declined to give estimates for crowd figures, despite having given them during previous demonstrations.

In Tel Aviv, a vast crowd of mostly young and secular demonstrators chanted slogans skewering Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who protesters accuse of failing to take seriously their calls for sweeping economic change.

"The land of milk and honey, but not for everybody," read one sign carried by a demonstrator in the coastal city. Other protesters waved Israeli flags and chanted against Israel's main supermarket companies, accusing them of unfair pricing.

Addressing the crowd in Tel Aviv, student union president Itzik Shmuli said the turnout showed the continued strength of the movement.

"They told us that the movement was slowing down. Tonight we are showing that it's the opposite," he said.

"We are the new Israelis, determined to continue the fight for a fairer and better society, knowing that it will be long and difficult," he told the cheering protesters.

Organisers said they hoped to bring record-breaking numbers of people into the streets, exceeding even the unprecedented August 6 turnout.

Those protests marked something of a high point for the protest movement, which began in mid-May when frustrated young Israelis pitched tents on of Tel Aviv's trendiest neighbourhoods to illustrate their inability to find affordable housing.

The movement quickly attracted support from across Israeli society, prompting Netanyahu's government to pledge action.

But in recent weeks, and particularly in the wake of a militant attack that killed nine Israelis, the movement appeared to have lost some momentum and commentators questioned whether it had peaked.

Ahead of the demonstrations, organisers said Saturday's turnout would show the movement remained strong, and would pile new pressure on Netanyahu's government, which has yet to take any concrete reform measures.

"We going to prove to those who have buried the movement that they were wrong and that the people are ready to go into the streets for social justice, affordable housing and the defence of public education and health services," protest leader Stav Shafir told AFP.

"We must maintain pressure on Benjamin Netanyahu, this is not the moment to cede ground, while he has not listened to us and done absolutely nothing," Shafir said.

Netanyahu's government has pledged to take the protesters' calls seriously and set up a committee head by respected economist Manuel Trachtenberg to examine their demands.

But the demonstrators say the measure is an attempt to stall, and point to Netanyahu's insistence that his government will not finance reforms by spending outside its current budget.

"We have formulated very specific demands in terms of necessary budget increases for housing, education and health, but no far not a single concrete measure has been taken," protest organiser Uri Metuki said.

 

Date created : 2011-09-03

  • ISRAEL

    Scuffles break out as Israeli lawmakers debate protests

    Read more

  • ISRAEL

    The Israeli summer of discontent

    Read more

  • ISRAEL

    Israelis press calls for economic reform

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)