Sudanese Migrants Rally for Secession in Homeland

Illegal African immigrants to Israel rallied in Tel Aviv on Sunday for the independence of southern Sudan. Many hope to return someday.

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Chana Julian, | updated: 23:14

Israel news photo: CIA world factbook

Illegal African immigrants to Israel rallied in Tel Aviv on Sunday for independence in southern Sudan.

More than 300 demonstrators chanted “Separation yes, unity no!” as they danced and waved black, red and green flags at Levinsky Park in the Neve Sha'anan neighborhood.

The Sudanese migrants were rallying in sympathy with their brethren in southern Sudan who this week began voting in a week-long referendum on secession.

The referendum comes as part of a 2005 peace agreement that ultimately provides for the independence of Southern Sudan, comprised primarily of Christians, from the capital, Khartoum, and northern Sudan, primarily Muslim.

Other Africans came to support the demonstrators, including those from Darfur who are less likely to return than those from southern Sudan, who are Christian. Most of those from Darfur are Muslim and fear retribution because they fled to a Jewish nation.

Men brandished large wooden spears and white cloth shields adorned with large painted blue Jewish stars and colorful black, red and green flags, jumping and stomping in a traditional tribal war dance.

Women also danced during the event which featured addresses by religious and tribal elders about the migrants' current situation in Israel.