Ethiopian Jews have scuffled with police in Tel Aviv during an unauthorised protest against institutionalized racism in Israel, but there were no serious incidents despite police warnings that violence was planned. About 200 people attended the demonstration on Wednesday alongside a heavy police presence. Aljazeera was there:
Some protesters tried to block roads but were pushed back. At least two people were arrested for defying police instructions, but nobody was injured on either side. Ahead of Wednesday’s demonstration, a police statement said: “Police intelligence has revealed the intention of ‘militants’ on the side of the protesters from the Ethiopian community inciting violence against police, civilians and property.”
Ethiopian Jews in Israel have staged several rallies against police brutality and racism in recent weeks. At a May 3 rally in Tel Aviv protesters threw stones, bottles and chairs, injuring 55 police officers. In that incident, police used stun grenades, water cannon and pepper spray to disperse several thousand Ethiopian Jews. Twelve protesters were hurt and 43 arrested.
The following day President Reuven Rivlin admitted Israel had made mistakes in its treatment of the Ethiopian Jewish community, calling their suffering “an open wound”.