Israel: Africans march, demand “rights,” turn violent, many imprisoned

On the road to Beersheva before the violence broke out.

Israel built a new detention center for mostly African migrants who are claiming they are legitimate asylum seekers (as opposed to economic migrants looking for work).  The facility (we told you about it here) is open for the inhabitants to leave during the day, but they must return at night.  It doesn’t look like it’s working out for hundreds who got into violent clashes with police and now are imprisoned 24-7.

From LiveLeak:

More than 100 African migrants/refugees left the newly instated open detention center in S.Israel and begun making their way to Beersheva in protest of the jailing of fellow refugees as well as governmental reluctance to respond to their asylum request.

The 130-strong march left the Holot detention facility for Beersheba Thursday, accompanied by police cars. The march eventually deteriorated and violent clashes with the police, as well as more then a dozen arrests, were reported.

According to the refugees, the protest was intended to demand the release of two of their compatriots who were arrested in a Jerusalem protest some two days ago. They further called from their asylum requests be reviewed individually.

Abdul, a Sudanese refugee, said “we are marching for our friends, for our freedom and for our rights. We request that the Israeli government examine our request individually, and treat us as refugees, not criminals.”

The two men whose arrest sparked Thursday’s demonstration are currently being held in the Saharonim Prison, a jail built to house asylum seekers held under directives which the High Court deemed unconstitutional.

The demonstration’s starting point – the Holot detention facility – was established as a response to the ruling and thus was built as an ‘open jail,’ from which asylum seekers can come and go during day time.

The demonstrators involved in clashes have now been sent to the real prison.

The cost of the Holot facility was roughly a million shekel and in light of the court’s ruling and recent events, it seems the State is adamant in its intent to deport African refugees who find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Photo is from this account of events at Jews for Justice.

For new readers, this is our 136th post in our category entitled ‘Israel and refugees.’

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