On Sunday, a protest in Tel Aviv incited over the mistreatment of an Ethiopian Jew soldier took a violent turn. The incident caused injuries to 57 officers, according to Israeli police.
Protestors, thousands of them, marched through central Tel Aviv, blocking both sides of the Ayalon freeway for more than two hours. Departing from the the freeway, they marched to Rabin Square where the protest turned into a violent mayhem.
Demonstrators were joined by activists, crossing their hands over their heads signifying being handcuffed. They chanted slogans like “a violent cop should be jailed.”
Brig. Gen. Yoram Ohayon, deputy commander of the police’s Tel Aviv district, said that social activists were responsible for “inciting members of the community to keep protesting after the police has already reached understandings with them,” according to Ynet news.
According to CNN, horses, water cannons and smoke were deployed to neutralize the crowd in Rabin Square.
Luba Samri, Israeli police spokeswoman said that 43 demonstrators were arrested.
The demonstrations came after a similar protest was carried out in Jerusalem a few days ago, which left several civilians and officers injured. Many people were arrested as a result of the incident.
Both incidents were instigated by the Ethiopian Jewish community after a video, which shows uniformed Israel Defense Forces soldier of Ethiopian ancestry Damas Pakada being assaulted by police, went viral. The rally was carried out peacefully in the first few hours.
The protest was held days after a similar one in Jerusalem ended with arrests along with injured protesters and police. Both were triggered by a video of an IDF soldier of Ethiopian ethnicity in uniform being beaten by a policeman and a police volunteer in Holon.
Getanet, an Ethiopian Israeli father from Ariel, immigrated to Israel in 1984. He said that the situation has changed dramatically ever since.
He also said that racism affects everyone, not only Ethiopian Israelis.
“We need to see this solidarity. I stand during the siren on Holocaust Remembrance Day. I can identify with others’ suffering. The rest of Israel needs to stand with us,” he said.
Zehava Avera, a young woman from Netanya, said, “We’re here because this cop has to be put in jail. We’re tired of being abandoned and we don’t want to see one more soldier hurt like this.”
Both Getanet and Avera fear how adversely the racism in Israeli will affect their children and future generations.
Magen David Adom paramedics said that 46 civilians and officers had been provided treatment by 11:30 p.m., according to The Jerusalem Post.
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