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More Than 100 Injured In Tel Aviv Clashes; Netanyahu Demands Immediate Deportation of Eritrean Immigrants

Amidst violent clashes involving Eritrean protestors in Tel Aviv, more than 100 people have been injured, and the police have fired warning shots into the air to break up the demonstrations.


On Saturday, violence broke out when a large group of Eritreans protesting against their government entered a location where a pro-government gathering was hosted.


"A red line" has been crossed, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Additionally, he issued a new directive to expel any migrants from Africa whom he referred to as "illegal infiltrators."


According to the Haaretz daily, protesters scaled police barriers and destroyed windows of surrounding businesses and police and other vehicles. Additionally, they could access the location next to the Eritrean embassy and destroy tables and chairs.

Israel's emergency medical service, Magen David Adom, reported treating 114 patients, eight of whom had critical conditions.


Social media videos showed Eritrean government supporters using clubs to strike back at opposition demonstrators. Men with head wounds and bloody arms, some of whom were lying on the ground of a playground, were reported by Reuters journalists.

"The barricades were breached rather quickly by the protesters. Tear gas and stun grenades were used by the police as a response. Between the protesters and the police using riot gear, there were ongoing clashes, according to Brennan, an Al Jazeera correspondent.


At least 30 police officers were hurt during the fights, according to Brennan, who also questioned if the police could have responded more effectively. According to the police, they detained 39 people "who assaulted police and threw stones" at policemen. 


Police stated that they were increasing the number of officers in the area since it was rumored that violence between Eritreans and police, as well as between supporters and opponents of the country's leadership, was still occurring in other parts of south Tel Aviv.


The pro-government gathering was scheduled by the Eritrean embassy, which the anti-government protesters claim is trying to monitor and follow them. They had earlier urged the police to call off the event.


Residents claimed that for many hours, the streets of central Tel Aviv reeked of war, with police helicopters flying overhead and sirens blasting.


Mr. Netanyahu and other cabinet members cited the Supreme Court as why prior attempts to expel migrants from Israel were unsuccessful.

In South Tel Aviv and elsewhere, there is still a severe problem with illegal infiltrators, the prime minister noted during the extraordinary government meeting on Sunday.

"We demand severe punishment for the rioters, including their immediate deportation."

He asked that plans be given to him by the ministries “for the removal of all other infiltrators.”


To move on with the widespread deportation of immigrants who entered the country illegally, the far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir plans to introduce a measure that would repeal a portion of Israel's quasi-constitutional fundamental law on human dignity and liberty. There are said to be 18,000 Eritrean asylum seekers in Israel, most of whom entered the country illegally years ago by traveling via the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, having escaped one of the most oppressive nations in the world because they were in danger, being persecuted, and being forced into the military.


Although it would seem that Eritreans who support the dictatorship do not require international protection as refugees, the Israeli authorities have not previously distinguished between asylum seekers based on their political connections.


The Eritrean diaspora celebrated Eritrea's 30th anniversary of independence from Ethiopia by holding events. But in addition to Israel, numerous events in Europe and North America have also been plagued by violent outbursts; in Toronto, Canada, a three-day Eritrean cultural festival was postponed last month. 

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