Tens of thousands of Israelis demonstrated on Saturday against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial plan to overhaul the country’s legal system, as the government pushed ahead with proposed changes despite massive opposition.

The plans were proposed in January, weeks after the swearing in of Netanyahu’s ultranationalist coalition, the most far-right government in the country’s history. The reforms have increasingly divided the Israeli community and have given impetus to weekly protests every Saturday.

The debate stems from fears that the changes would weaken the Supreme Court, limit the powers of judges and threaten democratic institutions. Netanyahu and his allies say they will control an unelected judiciary.

Israeli mounted police officers attempt to disperse protesters in Tel Aviv on Saturday.JACK GUEZ / AFP – Getty Images

The central city of Tel Aviv saw the largest turnout in this week’s protests, with smaller demonstrations taking place in various locations across the country.

In Tel Aviv, protesters waved Israeli flags and images depicting Netanyahu as dictators like Caesar. Other protesters waved Palestinian and rainbow flags and chanted «Freedom!» Other protesters held banners with portraits of Netanyahu and hardline ministers between the text «From the emerging nation to the closed nation.»

On Wednesday, Israeli police fired stun grenades and water cannons at protesters who blocked a Tel Aviv highway and protesters scuffled with police near the Israeli leader’s home as weeks of anti-government protests turned violent for the first time. time.

Netanyahu, who is on trial on charges of corruption, fraud and breach of trust, and his political associates showed no sign of easing pressure to pass a series of bills to reform Israel’s judiciary.