Israelis March Against Government's Contentious Plan to Overhaul Judiciary

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) -- Israelis continued protests Saturday for the 23rd week against plans by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's far-right government to overhaul the judiciary in the country.

The mass demonstrations started in January shortly after the government, made up of ultranationalist and ultra-Orthodox religious parties, was sworn in.

Gaining momentum and seeing large turnouts of more than 200,00 demonstrators at times, protest organizers have said they will not give up until the government cancels the proposed legal changes rather than delaying them.

The protests have become a weekly occasion to express on current affairs in the country.

In the coastal metropolis of Tel Aviv, where the main protest with tens of thousands is held, protesters held a giant banner reading "Type of citizen: dead," a reference to surging crimes among Israel's Arab communities.

Other protesters marched behind an effigy of a chained-up Netanyahu amid a sea of Israel's blue-and-white flags.

The plan would weaken the judiciary and limit judicial oversight on laws and government decisions, what critics say poses a direct threat to civil rights and the rights of minorities and marginalized groups. They also warn it will grant the government unrestrained power and upend the country's system of checks and balances.

The government says the judicial plan is meant to rein in what it says is an overly interventionist Supreme Court and restore power to elected legislators.