Nir Hasson Ha'aretz, Apr. 30, 2015
Ethiopians protest in Jerusalem, April 30, 2015. Photo by Lior Mizrahi
Around 1,000 protesters, most of them from Israel's Ethiopian Jewish community, demonstrated in Jerusalem on Thursday against police violence. The demonstration continued into the evening, with violent clashes between protesters and police.
|Protesters against police brutality toward Ethiopians in Jerusalem, April 30, 2015.|
Israel Police said that forces tried to disperse the protesters, who they said threw stones and bottles. There were also reports of protesters throwing fire bombs.
Medical teams treated 10 protesters and three police officers for injuries. Two police officers and seven protesters were rushed to Jerusalem hospitals for further treatment. Two protesters who tried to attack police were detained.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat arrived at the scene and spoke to the protesters trying to lower the flames. "Do you doubt that the prime minister, ministers, and 120 Knesset members want to embrace the Ethiopian community?" Barkat asked a young protester, who responded "I don't want a hug. Look at me as you would look at a white person. I don't need a hugs. That is a patronizing attitude that says that I'm incapable, so let's give him a hug."
|Protesters clash with police officers during a protest against police brutality toward Ethiopians in Jerusalem, April 30, 2015. (Lior Mizrahi)|
Earlier in the evening outside the police headquarters, the forces tried to hold back the protesters to keep open Route 1, a major thoroughfare in Jerusalem, but the demonstrators managed to block the road and also to disrupt movement of the city's light rail line. Periodic confrontations erupted between protesters and motorist who were unable to make their way through the area.
|Police officers in a protest against police brutality toward Ethiopians in Jerusalem, April 30, 2015. (Lior Mizrahi)|
The demonstrators protested what they labeled racist conduct on the part of police and called for the police officers suspected of violence to be put on trial. Officials at the Justice Ministry's police investigation division said they have opened an investigation into the incident in Holon.
The most extreme recent incident involving a confrontation between police and Ethiopians took place in the northern town of Binyamina last year. In that incident, police used a Taser gun against a 22-year-old Ethiopian Israeli, whom they reportedly suspected of breaking into a house. He was taken to the police station in nearby Zichron Yaakov and was found by his family unconscious and manacled. He died several months later in what police ruled a suicide.
Protest against police brutality in Jerusalem