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Police Pepper Spray Protesters as Thousands Rally Against Anti-Democratic Laws in Israel

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Cross-posted from Tikkun Daily.

by David Harris-Gershon

In Israel, conservative lawmakers are attempting to legislatively intimidate journalists and muffle criticism via a series of draconian bills slated to come before the Knesset.

In response, several thousand protesters took to the streets of Tel Aviv on Tuesday evening, voicing their opposition to what many view as a series of anti-democratic measures that threaten Israel's democratic standing.

One such measure - a bill that would effectively amend Israel's libel law such that claimants could sue newspapers for libel without having to prove damages - would send a chilling message to journalists, particularly those penning articles critical of the government. Another bill, which seeks to limit foreign funding to human rights organizations and NGOs, could financially impact many leftist organizations, including those charged with monitoring Palestinian rights, the occupation and settlements.

After the main rally concluded, several hundred protesters blocked the streets outside Likud's headquarters - the party to which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and many in the current cabinet belong. Police clashed with the protesters, spraying them with pepper spray and arresting several.

Below are some of the scenes from Tuesday's protests:

Protesters blocking a police car in a demand to release a protester who was arrested.

Police used force to disperse the protests around Likud headquarters.
Approximately 2,000 protesters rallied on November 22, 2011 in Tel Aviv against the flurry of anti-democratic bills and legislation being pushed through parliament by right-wing legislators.
A protester silenced by a sticker that reads "police."

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