Protesters clash with police at Ben Gurion airport over Netanyahu's judicial reform plans

Police are trying to remove activists from Israel's main international airport


Police have arrested four protesters campaigning against Benjamin Netanyahu's controversial judicial reforms after clashes with protestors at Ben Gurion International Airport. 

Protesters entered the airport, shortly after 4pm Israeli time on Monday, carrying a large copy of the country's Declaration of Independence, which was read out by veterans of the Yom Kippur war, followed by the singing of the national anthem, Hatikvah. 

Police are currently trying to remove the protesters from Terminal 3 of the airport, located near the city of Lod. 

Before the rally, a leaflet circulated online urging protesters to come to Ben Gurion with suitcases and passports, suggesting they planned to pose as passengers to bypass police cordons.

Police have pledged to keep Ben Gurion operating and an airports authority spokesman said so far there had been no unusual flight delays.

It comes as protesters briefly closed access to Haifa port, a key Israeli seaport, earlier on Monday.

Several protesters, some holding Israeli flags and others beating drums, blocked the gate of the northern port of Haifa for 1.5 hours. A port spokesman said they had stopped about 100 trucks from entering and had delayed loading cargo.

Netanyahu quelled protests earlier this year by announcing compromise talks with the opposition, but they have thus far proved unsuccessful. 

He is now pursuing a legislative package that he says is a scaled-down version of the reform that previously plunged Israel into political turmoil and crippled its economy.

Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption charges he denies, defends his judiciary reforms as an attempt to restore balance between the various branches of government and correct what he and his coalition allies consider the courts to be overreaching.

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