Tens of thousands of people are protesting at night against the “judicial reform” legislation in Israel

Jerusalem (CNN) — About 160,000 people demonstrated in Tel Aviv on Saturday night against Israeli government plans to weaken the country’s justice system, crowds expert Ofer Greenboim Liron told CNN, in one of the largest demonstrations yet against the legislation.

Liron, CEO of Crowd Solutions, which specializes in crowds at events and venues, based his estimate on drone images at 8pm local time.

Protest organizers say an additional 130,000 people protested in other demonstrations across the country on Saturday night. The figures from the regulators were higher than the estimates of independent experts such as Liron.

Tel Aviv and other cities across Israel have seen demonstrations against plans for judicial reform for eight weeks.

The package of legislation will give the Israeli parliament (the Knesset) the power to veto Supreme Court decisions by a simple majority. It also gives the government the power to nominate judges, which is currently done through a committee made up of judges, legal experts, and politicians.

The bills, which would allow the Knesset to overturn Supreme Court decisions and eliminate the court’s power to judge government appointments, passed first reading on Wednesday.

Critics accuse Netanyahu of pressing to pass the legislation in order to avoid the corruption trials he is currently facing, while Netanyahu denied this, saying that the trials collapse on their own, and that changes are necessary after a judicial override by unelected judges.

Two out of three Israelis believe that the Supreme Court should have the power to strike down laws that contradict Israel’s basic laws, according to a poll conducted last week.

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