Dozens of African Migrants Arrested After Leaving Detention Facility

Some 100 set out on a solidarity march on Thursday, three days after more than a hundred more headed to Jerusalem to protest detention policy; Immigration Police chasing dozens more who escaped arrest.

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail

About 100 African migrants left the Holot detention center on Thursday afternoon and began marching toward Be'er Sheva.

Immigration Authority officers arrested dozens of the marchers near the facility and forced them to board buses to return. Dozens of other migrants sprinted into the desert, and the immigration officers are currently trying to track them down.

The migrants set out on the solidarity march three days after hundreds of other detainees refused to return to the open center as required on Monday, marching instead toward Jerusalem to protest the government's detention policy. The migrants were forcibly boarded onto buses and returned to the detention facility.

One of the migrants who left the facility on Thursday with the goal of reaching Tel Aviv told Haaretz that he and his friends came to Israel seeking refuge, not detention, and would rather be in the hands of an international refugee agency if not free to work in Israel.

"Our stance is clear," said the migrant, Mohammed, who arrived from Sudan via the Sinai Peninsula. "Either grant us asylum or give us to an international refugee agency."

The migrants who left Holot on Thursday set out in small groups so as not to raise the suspicion of the Prisons Service wardens and gathered in a nearby bus station, from where they began to march. Some ties their hands or held them crossed in a show of solidarity with friends currently in jail. They did not say where the planned to go, other than to a big city.

Some 278 of the 300 migrants required to check in over the course of the day at the facility slept there on Wednesday night. The migrants are allowed to leave the facility between 6 A.M. and 10 P.M., but must check in three times and day and are not allowed to work.

African migrants walking away from the Holot detention facility on Thursday.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN


Election ad featuring Yair Lapid in Rahat, the largest Arab city in Israel's Negev region.

This Bedouin City Could Decide Who Is Israel's Next Prime Minister

Dr. Claris Harbon in the neighborhood where she grew up in Ashdod.

A Women's Rights Lawyer Felt She Didn't Belong in Israel. So She Moved to Morocco

Mohammed 'Moha' Alshawamreh.

'It Was Real Shock to Move From a Little Muslim Village, to a Big Open World'

From the cover of 'Shmutz.'

'There Are Similarities Between the Hasidic Community and Pornography’

A scene from Netflix's "RRR."

‘RRR’: If Cocaine Were a Movie, It Would Look Like This

Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

Yair Lapid's Journey: From Late-night Host to Israel's Prime Minister