Sunday, August 14, 2011

Israel protests for reform set to spread: Demonstrators urged to "get out of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem" to strengthen economy protests across the country



Protest leaders have called on participants to "get out of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem" on Saturday to bolster demonstrations in other locations.

"We want to strengthen the movement in the periphery, where those who have pitched tents in protest are still few, so we have made a call to leave Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to take part in rallies in twelve cities," Stav Shafir, a protest leader, told the AFP news agency.

"In these periphery cities people's lives are even more difficult than in the centre, near Tel Aviv. It is essential to express the solidarity of the whole movement with the populations of these communities," Shafir added.

Israel has been gripped since mid-July by a rapidly growing protest movement born out of outrage over Israel's property prices. It has transformed into a nationwide phenomenon to also demand cheaper education and health care.

Reporting from the town of Beersheva, Al Jazeera's Cal Perry said that the government is "taking a sort of 'wait-and-see' attitude" in its response to the protests, suggesting that officials could respond well to large-sized peaceful demonstrations and marches.

"The organisers will tell you that this movement does have legs, it does have staying power," he said.

"They're hoping to get somewhere between 50 and 70,000 people into the small square behind me [in Beersheva]." (more)