Bloody Clash in Tel Aviv: Eritrean Supporters, Foes and Police Erupt in Violence

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A bloody clash erupted in Tel Aviv, Israel, as hundreds of supporters and opponents of the Eritrean government faced off with one another and Israeli police. This violent encounter, marking one of the most brutal street confrontations recently faced by African asylum seekers and immigrants in the metropolis, resulted in dozens of injuries.

Both factions, armed with construction lumber, metal pieces, rocks, and an axe, caused significant damage to a south Tel Aviv neighborhood home to many asylum seekers. Protesters wrecked shop windows and police cars while sidewalks were splattered with blood.

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In riot gear, Israeli police unleashed tear gas, stun grenades, and live rounds in an attempt to quell the chaos. However, the demonstrators who broke through the barricades retaliated with a hail of rocks, forcing the police to utilize live ammunition due to imminent danger to their safety.

In response to these confrontations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to take steps against those involved, including possible deportations, labeling them “illegal infiltrators.”

This strife arose as Eritrean government supporters commemorated the 30-year reign of the country’s current leader – an event held near the South Tel Aviv Eritrean embassy. Notably, Eritrea is known for poor human rights records, instilling fear of fatality upon those forced to return.

Eventually, permission granted for separate peaceful demonstrations to government supporters and opponents turned to chaos. The commitments to maintain distance were broken, setting off the gruesome conflicts.

The pinnacle of the conflict witnessed government opponents breaking through barriers, clashing with the police, and assaulting officers, stated Chaim Bublil, a Tel Aviv police commander. As an aftermath, 39 people were taken into custody as the police confiscated tasers, knives, and clubs.

The toll of the discord reached 114 injuries, with eight in serious condition, including 30 police officers. Additionally, 11 patients were being treated for gunshot wounds, believed to be from police gunfire.

It’s of importance that Eritreans comprise the majority of the over 30,000 African asylum seekers in Israel who fled their homeland, escaping the severe dangers and persecution it poses. Despite the squalor and uncertainty they confront in Israel, these individuals are privileged to exercise freedoms denied in their homeland, such as the right to protest.

The charged event underscores the conflicts faced by Eritrean asylum seekers in Israel, who are frequently targeted and terrorized by their government and its supporters. Events like these are contentious, as they raise funds for the heavily sanctioned government and exert pressure on Eritreans far from home.