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More Israelis join forces in protest events taking place in cities around country

vendredi 12 août 2011, par Efraim Davidi

Nearly a month into the social issues protests that have swept the country, movement organizers have decided to cancel the weekly mass rallies in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and hold in their place a series of mass rallies in the periphery. The message, organizers said, is that the movement isn’t only in the big cities in the center of the country, and the government must see it has become a nationwide struggle. As of Thursday night, the cities that are planning to hold rallies include Haifa Afula, Beit She’an, Beersheba, Modi’in, Ramat Hasharon, Netanya, Eilat, Hod Hasharon, Dimona and Petah Tikva.

Yesterday (Thursday) hundreds of young parents were joined by housing protesters and doctors in a nationwide march for better living. Some 600 parents, students and even lifeguards demanding better employment terms marched in the northern town of Kiryat Motzkin. In Tel Aviv, tent dwellers protesting against the high costs of housing marched from the Ichilov Medical Center towards Kikar HaMedina, the city’s most upscale shopping district. They were joined by medical interns demanding reforms to the healthcare system and by young parents - accompanied by their children - demonstrating against the high prices of raising children. Some carried signs with the slogan "We don’t have sushi in kindergarten" and chanted "Let’s show Bibi who is pushing the stroller." Meanwhile, roughly 100 parents marched with strollers from the corner of Allenby and Begin streets towards the tent city set up in Levinsky Park. Some 200 artists broke into the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in protest against the facility’s managing board, which they claim consists only of businessmen, and not representatives of the art field. According to the activists, they gathered outside the facility but decided to break in when no official came out to talk to them. The museum’s security personnel locked the doors, barricading some of the artists inside.

Similar stroller marches took place in Bat Yam and Rehovot, where 200 people turned up. Another such march is expected to take place in Eilat, near the Red Sea. Approximately 200 people gathered in Jerusalem’s Independence Park for a "protest festival," which included performances, lectures, activities for kids and discussion groups. In a similar event that took place in Beersheba, activists explained to the public the demands they intend to present to the government.

Also, yesterday night, 1,000 residents of the Jordan Valley protested at Zemah Junction, north of the Sea of Galilee, against the high costs of living. The protesters marched towards the junction from three directions.

Organizers of the demonstration said that residents of the valley have been part of the national protest movement for nearly a month, but claimed "the voice of the periphery isn’t always heard."

Earlier Thursday, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz arrived at the Rothschild Boulevard tent city for the second time this week. Accompanied by a professional staff from his ministry, he intended to present the tent dwellers with his new plan to reform the country’s public transportation system.

He was then forced to leave the premises, after tensions flared as displeased protesters shouted : "We demand answers", "Bibi, go home" and "The people will not give up."

(Vendredi, 12 août 2011)

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