More than 100 injured in clashes between Eritreans in Tel Aviv

More than 100 injured in clashes between Eritreans in Tel Aviv

JERUSALEM, Sept 2 (Reuters) – More than 100 people were injured in violent clashes in Tel Aviv between Eritrean government supporters holding an Eritrean Day event and opponents of President Isaias Afwerki.

Israeli police fired stun grenades to break up the clashes, while some protesters hurled stones at police and set rubbish bins on fire, Reuters journalists reported at the scene. Images posted on social media showed supporters of the Eritrean government beating anti-government protesters with sticks.

Israeli medical officials said more than 114 people were treated for injuries, including some 30 police officers.

The violence erupted around an event organized by the Eritrean embassy on the occasion of Revolution Day, September 1, which commemorates the start of the War of Independence against Ethiopia in 1961.

Isaias has ruled Eritrea since its independence in 1993. Human rights groups have condemned his rule as highly repressive and the country is subject to US and European Union sanctions for alleged abuses.

“Why are we fleeing our country?” a Tel Aviv protester, Hagos Gavriot, told Reuters. “Why did the Israeli police give you permission to celebrate… this dictator? We are against this. Why am I here seeking refuge?”

Reuters journalists saw men with head injuries and bloody arms, some lying on the floor of a children’s playground. Police marched through the streets firing stun grenades at protesters.

Some 25,500 Eritrean asylum seekers currently live in Israel, according to Assaf, a refugee aid organization. Eritreans who fled to Israel over its border with Egypt say they will face persecution if repatriated. Eritrea requires exit permits for its citizens and has compulsory military service.

(Reporting by Emily Rose and Hannah Confino; Editing in Spanish by Carlos Serrano)

Source: Ambito

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