updated 11/3/2007 11:06:14 PM ET 2007-11-04T03:06:14

More than 100,000 Israelis gathered Saturday night in the square where Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated to remember him 12 years after his killing.

They also protested a court decision that would allow the killer to attend his son's circumcision ceremony, scheduled for Sunday, the anniversary of Rabin's slaying.

Participants filled Rabin Square and spilled over into the surrounding streets, some carried signs and banners calling for peace and tolerance. Police would not give an exact number, but organizers said as many as 150,000 attended the gathering.

The square in front of Tel Aviv city hall was the site of a peace rally on Nov. 4, 1995. As it ended, Rabin was gunned down by an ultra-nationalist Jewish opponent of his policy of trading land to the Palestinians for peace.

The rally opened with film footage of Rabin addressing the 1995 rally, thanking participants for coming out to support the theme: "No to violence, yes to peace."

Yigal Amir, the Orthodox Jewish assassin, was sentenced to life in prison.

Conjugal visits
Although held in isolation, he has been permitted conjugal visits over the past year with his wife, Larissa Trimbobler, whom he married by proxy while in prison. They had a son a week ago.

An Israeli court rejected Amir's request to attend a ceremony outside the prison but said it could take place within the prison walls, a decision that outraged Israelis.

"This is a memorial rally that is also a protest rally," Rabin's daughter, Dalia Rabin-Pelossof, said before the gathering.

The birth comes at a time of growing sympathy for commuting Amir's sentence. Israeli extremists and Amir's family have launched a campaign to have him released from prison and a recent newspaper poll indicated that about a quarter of Israelis, including almost half of religiously observant Jews, think Amir should be pardoned in 2015 after serving 20 years.

Any clemency would be granted by Israel's president. But President Shimon Peres, who was Rabin's foreign minister and just a few steps away when he was gunned down, has said Amir should not be pardoned. On Saturday, Peres did not address the matter directly, instead encouraging the crowd to fulfill Rabin's legacy and push the path to peace.

‘Despicable murderer’
Defense Minister Ehud Barak took direct aim at the killer.

"The despicable murderer does not deserve to be remembered tonight," Barak said. "I will only say this: His punishment will not be commuted and the prison gates will shut him in until his final days."

Rabin's government negotiated the first interim peace accord with the Palestinians, and he won a Noble Peace Prize for his efforts.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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