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Protesters block highway in Israel after district police chief forced to resign

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Jerusalem: Tens of thousands of Israelis blocked a main highway in Tel Aviv and other major crossroads across the country on Wednesday in protest against the forced resignation of Tel Aviv’s police chief.

Tel Aviv District Commander Ami Eshed said earlier in the day that he was quitting the force due to political pressure from members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government over police work.

Eshed said his disagreements with Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir stemmed from his refusal to use excessive force against demonstrators opposing the government’s plan to overhaul the judicial system.

Live broadcasts on Israeli TV channels showed protesters blocking the Ayalon Highway, which connects Tel Aviv and other cities, and setting bonfires along the highway, to express their opposition to the government’s plan to strip the Supreme Court of some powers and transfer them to the government itself.

Police clashed with the protesters and tried to chase them away with water cannons. The highway was reopened for traffic after midnight.

At least 25 protesters have been arrested throughout the country, according to a police statement.

In Jerusalem, hundreds of protesters clashed with police outside Netanyahu’s private residence. Video footage showed police pushing some protesters to the ground and using water cannons to disperse the crowd.

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