80 thousand? Saturday's demonstration in Tel Aviv
80 thousand? Saturday's demonstration in Tel AvivAmir Goldstein

Self-described "Data lover" Otniel Ben Amara attempted to mathematically calculate the number of protesters who participated in Saturday night's left-wing demonstration at Habima Square in Tel Aviv against the judicial reforms that Justice Minister Yariv Levin is leading.

"As a media-skeptic who lives near the square, my first reaction to the headline, which stated that 80 thousand protesters were present, was cynical, to say the least," Ben Amara wrote on his Twitter account. But in the end, curiosity beat out my cynicism, and I went to check the matter using data."

Ben Amara explained how he calculated the number of participants. "I split the calculation into two parameters: The size of the demonstration area and crowd density. Crowd density concerns safety experts, and there are numerous simulations and models on the internet that show a crowd by its density rate. Density by square meter: 5 people per square meter is considered the highest level, crowded and dangerous (like next to the stage at a rock concert). Usually, we'll see a crowd density of 2-3 people per square meter. From the pictures, it would seem that the crowd density was slightly higher than average in most of the demonstration area. For the calculation, I assumed a factor of 2.5 people per square meter."

After explaining how he estimated the crowd density, Ben Amara explained how he calculated the demonstration area. "By studying a few dozen photos from the news and social media, it would seem that the demonstration completely filled Habima Square, Hoberman, and Tarsat streets, the area between Marmorek and Ben Zion Boulevard, and spilled out onto the edges of Rothschild and Dizengoff streets," he wrote. "To calculate the exact area, I used mapchecking.com, which uses a map to calculate the area and the number of people (and removes the area of buildings)."

According to him, "The site can also calculate the number of protesters by crowd density, and by calculating the density and the building in the square, we receive the following result: 79,224. My conclusion: Can 80 thousand people fit in Habima Square? It would seem so. Were there for sure 80 thousand protesters yesterday? I don't know, but it would certainly seem that it was close to that. Were there no more than 10-15 thousand protesters yesterday? For sure not."