Tel Aviv protests: Dozens injured as thousands demonstrate against racism and police brutality in Israel

The Jews of Ethiopian descent protested over racism and poor opportunities

Ben Tufft
Monday 04 May 2015 08:46
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Thousands took to the streets to demonstrate against racism
Thousands took to the streets to demonstrate against racism

Dozens have been injured in a protest over alleged police brutality and racism towards Israeli Jews of Ethiopian descent in central Tel Aviv.

Thousands from across the country joined the initially peaceful demonstration, but by nightfall on Sunday it turned violent as protesters repeatedly clashed with police on horseback.

Israel's Ethiopian community suffers from lower wages than the general population (Getty)

At least 20 officers were injured and “multiple protesters” were arrested, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

Demonstrators threw rocks and bottles at officers in full riot gear before police deployed officers on horseback. Stun grenades were also used in an attempt to quell the unrest in the central district of Israel’s largest city.

A police vehicle was overturned, fires were started close to the city hall and protesters attempted to enter the civic building, local media reported.

At least 20 police officers were injured in the protests (Getty)

One woman named Natel, who had travelled from the northern city of Nazareth Illit, said: “I am here to fight for our rights.”

Following the video, two police officers have been suspended for using excessive force.

Tensions between Israel’s 135,000-strong Ethiopian community and the rest of the population have simmered since many were secretly airlifted from the African country to Israel between 1984 and 1990.

Many of the minority community complain of a lack of opportunity, racism and police harassment. Jews of Ethiopian descent earn less than the general population and are more likely to be jailed.

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who will meet the soldier in the video and security and immigration officials, said there was “no place for violence and such disturbances”.

The protest began peacefully, but turned violent as night fell (Getty)

While police chief Yohanan Danino said “the use of violence by a small minority of the many protesters does not serve their struggle.”

“Whoever harms police or civilians will be brought to justice,” he told Channel 10.

The protest was the second such demonstration in the past few days and supporters have vowed there will be more to come.

AP

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