More than 150 people were injured in serious clashes between Israeli police and migrants from Eritrea in the coastal city of Tel Aviv. Hundreds of Eritreans protested against the local government in front of their country's embassy on Saturday, breaking through police barriers, Israeli media reported.
Police said security forces also fired shots due to the imminent danger to themselves. At least three people were injured as a result. At least 19 demonstrators were seriously injured in the riots, the Haaretz newspaper reported, citing rescue workers.
According to the police, at least 49 officers were among the injured. Security forces arrested 39 demonstrators and found batons, tear gas and stun guns on them. The situation calmed down again in the late afternoon. The first clashes had already occurred in the morning.
Stun grenades and batons
The demonstrators also smashed windows from police and other cars, as well as windows from surrounding shops, as Haaretz wrote. They would have caused significant damage. According to the report, security forces used stun grenades and batons against the demonstrators, among other things. Eyewitnesses reported that many demonstrators carried wooden sticks at the rally in the south of the city. A city hospital said doctors at the clinic had treated 12 people for serious head injuries.
According to the media, an event was to be held in the embassy on Saturday afternoon to mark the anniversary of the Eritrean War of Independence. The war in which Eritrea won independence from Ethiopia lasted from 1961 to 1991. President Isaias Afewerki has ruled the country in a one-party dictatorship since 1993. Its critics reportedly saw the event in Tel Aviv as propaganda. Freedom of expression and freedom of the press are severely restricted in Eritrea. In addition, there is a strict military service and forced labor system, from which many Eritreans flee abroad.
Clashes between Eritreans
The demonstrators had previously asked the police to cancel the event and otherwise warned against violence. The government opponents also rioted in the embassy hall, where the event was to take place. There have also been confrontations between supporters and opponents of the Eritrean government.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed the police to restore order, according to his office. According to their own statements, the officials used hundreds of forces against the "lawbreakers" in Tel Aviv to stop the violence. Officials called on citizens to keep their distance from the riots. According to the information, two Eritreans have been arrested so far.
According to media, there are around 18,000 migrants from Eritrea in Israel. The country's authorities make no distinction between supporters and opponents of the local government in the asylum process. However, asylum applications are only approved in exceptional cases. However, people are not deported to their homeland.
disputes in other countries
In Germany, too, there were riots at an Eritrea festival in July, with at least 26 injured police officers, when opponents of the event attacked security forces with stones and bottles and set off smoke bombs. The officers used batons against them, among other things. The organizers of the event in Gießen are close to the controversial leadership of the East African country. In August, more than 50 people were injured in violent riots at an Eritrea festival in Stockholm.
Opponents and supporters of the Eritrean government threw stones and bottles at each other in the Norwegian city of Bergen on Saturday, the newspaper Bergens Tidende reported. At least one person was injured. Eyewitnesses reported that the police had also been attacked. The riots were triggered by a party by government supporters.