Police gear up for new wave of Ethiopian protests

Family of slain Ethiopian teen vows to continue protests which brought much of Israel to a halt last week. Protests expected later this week

David Rosenberg ,

Ethiopian Israelis protest following the death of 19-year-old Solomon Tekah
Ethiopian Israelis protest following the death of 19-year-old Solomon Tekah
Meir Vaknin/Flash90

The demonstrations, dubbed the “Ethiopian protests”, which began following the shooting death of an Ethiopian teenager in Haifa last week, are expected to continue this week, following a lull over the weekend.

Relatives of the slain teen, Solomon Tekah, said Monday morning that they planned to continue the mass protests against Israeli police, demanding that the officer involved in the shooting be charged with murder.

“We won’t stop the protests until the situation changes,” relatives of Tekah said, according to a report by Maariv.

“When the police inform the media of Solomon’s criminal past, as far as we’re concerned, it was like he was murdered all over again. Let’s say he had a certain past. Is that a reason to execute him? What is this, a criminal organization?”

Police expect the protests to resume sometime after the Tekah family ends the seven-day mourning period (Shiva) Monday.

With prosecutors expected to recommend against manslaughter charges for the officer involved in the shooting, after accepting his description of the events, protesters are expected to resume the mass demonstrations across Israel, which last week included road-blocking demonstrations and widespread violence and property damage. The officer may still face minor criminal charges, or disciplinary action by the police department for firing at the ground, rather than in the air.

Solomon Tekah, a 19-year-old Haifa teenager from the Ethiopian community, was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer last Sunday evening.

The police officer, who was with his wife and children at the time, claims that he spotted Tekah and several other teens, who appeared to be intoxicated, attacking a 13-year-old boy.

When he intervened and identified himself as a police officer, Tekah and the others attacked him, hurling stones at him.

Fearing for his life, the officer claimed, he fired at the ground to frighten the attackers. A bullet ricocheted off the ground and struck Tekah, killing him.

Details of the background of the incident, including Tekah’s criminal record, were later leaked to the press, angering his family.

Tekah was reportedly under house arrest at the time of his killing, and had a history of criminal behavior.

Family members have called his killing “murder”, and linked Tekah’s death to the shooting of a mentally ill man from the Ethiopian community earlier this year, who was gunned down by police in Bat Yam after he was spotted brandishing a knife.

"It's not 'killing', it's murder,” said Tekah’s cousin, Amir.

“What was he killed by? A work accident? Being hit by a car? When you take the kids out to the playground, do you go out with a gun? [The officer] saw a black man walking. And after the cop in Bat Yam was cleared of charges, what does an officer care about killing him?” Amir continued, referencing the death of Yehuda Biadga.



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