Ethiopian Israelis have began protesting on the streets of Tel Aviv to fight against police brutality that has been long standing without resolution. Many of the protesters are peaceful, using songs as dances as a way to express their hurt and anger toward the Israeli police. However, some blacks in Tel Aviv are rioting, throwing bottles and setting fires throughout the city. The issue in Tel Aviv has gotten more serious as hours have passed. According to the L.A. Times the police have used stun guns, tear gas as the rode horses throughout the city.
The demonstration was planned in advance and announce in a video that went viral online. In the video by Ethiopian Jews, an Israeli Defense Officer of Ethiopian descent is seen being assaulted by police. This caused Ethiopians in the city to begin chanting “a violent cop should be in jail.” Unfortunately, even though many protestors are peaceful, the Israeli police are not taking the protest well. So far, there have reportedly been twenty-six arrests. Though the soldier whose experience inspired the protests called for peace, the protesters now follow the lead of Thursday’s event in Jerusalem, where 1,000 people protested for the same cause.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has recently made a statement condemning the acts of both the rioters and police brutality. He announced that in the matter of soldier, Damas Fekadeh, there would be an investigation.
“All claims will be looked into but there is no place for violence and such disturbances.”
As the events in Israel continues to unfold, people can’t help but notice similarities between Tel Aviv and Baltimore, Maryland, USA. In the streets of Baltimore, while the Freddie Gray riots were still active, the police and National Guard set up a defensive front line to protect the city from the rioters as best they could. In Tel Aviv, police stand to protect in a similar fashion and with the same face to face harassment from protesters and rioters as did the Baltimore police.
Also in line with the events of Baltimore, Ethiopians in Tel Aviv mainly live in poverty, a state they believe is due to injustice by the government, which fails to provide adequate education so that citizens of Ethiopian descent can make a living and provide for families. It is reported that half of the Ethiopian Israeli population lives below the poverty line, but are somehow overrepresented in prison — like Baltimore, where a shocking one-third of the entire Maryland state prison system is filled with black people from Baltimore city.
The violence in Tel Aviv continues and police continue to retaliate. So far, one of the policemen responsible for the assault of the soldier has been suspended. Prime Minister Netanyahu now devises a plan to make life easier for Ethiopian Israelis.
“The immigrants from Ethiopia and their families are dear to us.”
[Images via CNN, Mashable and DazedDigital]