Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Thousands rallied Tuesday in Israel for a nationwide protest to bring attention to violence against women.
The protesters called on Israeli government officials to take stronger action against domestic abuse. Demonstrators blocked traffic in some areas, occupying intersections beginning Tuesday morning, YNet News reported.
Demonstrators held signs stating, "Stop killing women" at Azrieli Junction in Tel Aviv, while 50 women blocked the entrance into Jerusalem, chanting "stop the murder of women." Some 200 men and women protested outside of Be'er Sheve city hall.
Organizers said more than 300 institutions supported for the mass strike, including 47 local municipalities, 11 labor unions and around 100 businesses, the Times of Israel reported.
Protesters, galvanized by the recent killing of two teenage girls in separate incidents last month, organized the national demonstration last week. The girls' cases put Israel's domestic violence-related deaths at 24 this year, one of the highest annual tolls in recent memory.
In a town square in Tel Aviv, organizers placed a pair of red shoes for each victim.
Yara Ayoub, 16, was found dead in Jish and a 28-year-old man was named as the primary suspect. On the same day, Sylvana Tsegai, 13, was killed in her Tel Aviv home. Police named her mother's former partner as a suspect in the case.
Israel's Civil Service Commission, Finance Ministry and Union of Local Authorities warned workers the protest would be considered a vacation day -- or they would be docked pay for the walkout -- but many protests went on.
"We are not only striking, we are showing real power and strength," organizers said in a statement. "We are proving we cannot be ignored and that we refuse to be the government's last priority."