Demonstrators battled police in central Tel Aviv on Saturday nightin protest at what they said was excessive police use of force at arally the previous night.

An AFP photographer saw several scuffles between police and protestors on Saturday and at least one demonstrator had a bloody face.

The confrontation was in reaction to incidents a smaller rally on Friday, where police arrested Dafni Leef, one of the leaders of asocial protest movement launched last summer and several others.

Police moved in as they were trying to put up protest tents on Rothschild Boulevard, in the city's financial district.

Israeli media said thousands of protestors had turned out on Saturday, some blocking main thoroughfares in the city centre, shattering windows and at one point forcing their way into a closed bank before being removed by police.

News website Ynet said police detained 10 people for questioning.

The social movement erupted after young Israelis angry at the cost of housing in Tel Aviv pitched tents in the middle of an upscale neighbourhood to express their frustration.

The tent protest quickly mushroomed, with dozens of similar encampments sprouting in towns and cities across the country.

It won widespread support, sparking weekly demonstrations that eventually attracted hundreds of thousands of Israelis, breaking records in the Jewish state and drawing extensive coverage from the local media.

It peaked on September 3, when almost half a million people took part in rallies nationwide, largely fading away with the arrival of winter.

With the return of warm weather however, the protests have started up again.

After last year's mass protests the government set up a committee to look into people's grievances and promised reforms in housing, childcare and other areas. For far however, little has been implemented.

Image: AFP/Jack Guez