17 Arrested at Ethiopian-Israeli Protest

Ethiopian Israelis protest despite agreement reached with the Israel Police; hundreds of officers deployed to keep calm.

Tova Dvorin , | updated: 21:26

Ethiopian Jews clash with police in Tel Aviv
Ethiopian Jews clash with police in Tel Aviv
Ben Kelmer/Flash 90

About 500 Ethiopian-Israeli protestors demonstrated in Tel Aviv on Monday, despite a series of agreements reached with the Israel Police before the protest designed to stop the string of demonstrations. 

The participants demonstrated in front of the government complex in the city and out into Rabin Square.

At least 17 people have now been arrested, according to Walla! News, when they tried to block the intersection of Ammunition Hill and Menachem Begin; the remainder of the protestors were asked to clear the area. 

As part of the preparations for the police guarding the demonstration, hundreds of Border Police and riot police were deployed and several roads were closed. 

The demonstrators carry signs in protest, among other things, that read: "We are the house of Israel, no one can take away this identity," and "I have no other country, even if racism burns through it." 

The demonstrators are protesting among other things, institutionalized racism, they claim, against members of the community, as well as the closure of a criminal investigation of the police officer who beat Ethiopian Israeli soldier Damas Pakada. The offending officers will not be charged. 

"We, as citizens of the State of Israel, protest this decision and feel abandoned in the face of violence and racism against us by the law," the organizers of the protest stated. "The decision of the attorney is only one decision of many of the agencies of law and justice against civilians from Ethiopia in the last decade." 

"Discriminatory rulings are made against the background of the victims' skin color," they continued. "We are going to protest against the judiciary, which is tainted by prejudice and racism against Israelis of Ethiopian descent."

"We appeal to all citizens of the State of Israel [...] to protest with us for the sake of change." 

Earlier Monday, the Israel Police reached an agreement with several top members of the Ethiopian community promising steps to increase the sensitivity of the force to Ethiopian Israelis and specific community issues, as well as greater transparency over violations of police code. 



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