In the wake of Thursday’s large anti-police-racism protest in Jerusalem organized by an ad hoc group of young Ethiopian Jews – a protest which turned violent, many say because of police brutality against the protesters – more than 1,000 protesters, almost all Ethiopian Jews, blocked roads in Tel Aviv and tried to march to the train station.
Above: last week's unprovoked police beating of an Ethiopian IDF soldier in Holon
Ethiopian Jews Block Roads In New Anti-Police-Racism Protest
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
In the wake of Thursday’s large anti-police-racism protest in Jerusalem organized by an ad hoc group of young Ethiopian Jews – a protest which turned violent, many say because of police brutality against the protesters – Arutz Sheva reported that more than 1,000 protesters, almost all Ethiopian Jews, blocked roads in Tel Aviv and tried to march to the train station to disrupt service.
Ha’aretz reported that police claimed did not deploy any Ethiopian officers for today’s protest in order to avoid putting them in a conflict of interest situation.
But hundreds of other police officers were out in force.
A protest organizer, Inbal Bogale, told Haaretz todays protest was expected to be loud but nonviolent and accused police of likely sparking the violence at Thursday’s anti-police-brutality protest in Jerusalem.
“The fact that we’re black doesn’t mean that we’re Baltimore. In Jerusalem we didn’t ‘do a Baltimore’ as people are saying, that’s not what it was about. The police documented every moment of the demonstration and I want to see that documentation, whether we really started the violence as the police claim. We marched in the streets and they fired stun grenades at us,” Bogale said. But she emphasized that the today Tel Aviv protest would be nonviolent – unless police attack. “We cannot use violence when we’re demonstrating against it,” she said.
“It’s a pressure cooker that exploded, Misganaw Fanta, another protest organizer, said. “There are hundreds of young Ethiopians the police open case files against for no reason, and that ruins their lives. They’re good guys who want to get ahead, to study, to contribute to the state, but they can’t be combat soldiers, they don’t study, they’re called criminals.”
Ynet reported that the US Embassy warned American citizens to stay away from the area of the protest after Israeli police warned the US Embassy that violence was possible.
"The Israel National Police advises the US Embassy that a demonstration planned by members of the Ethiopian Israeli community is scheduled for today, Sunday, May 3, at 3 pm in the vicinity of the Kirya, Kaplan Street, and Azrieli Towers in central Tel Aviv, near district government offices and the Israeli Defense Forces headquarters. This demonstration has the potential of drawing large crowds. A similar protest held in Jerusalem on Thursday lasted several hours and turned violent, resulting in injuries, arrests, and property damage. We advise US citizens to avoid the area and to monitor local media for updates," the US Embassy wrote in a notice to US citizens.
Thursday’s protest in Jerusalem and today’s in Tel Aviv are in response to the unprovoked beating of an Ethiopian IDF soldier by police in Holon one week ago. The soldier, who was in full uniform at the time he was beaten, was jailed. But his family located security camera footage of the beating and released it to police and the media, creating a national outcry because the video made clear what the soldier had claimed from the beginning – that the attack against him was unprovoked and apparently racist in nature. The soldier was released from prison and two of the several police officers involved in the attack were suspended.
Ethiopian Jews claim attacks like this are common as are false arrests, and say police often treat people of color with extreme disrespect.