African Migrants in Israel Plan Strike to Protest Government Policy

Eritrean and Sudanese citizens urged not to go to work on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

Ilan Lior
Ilan Lior
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Ilan Lior
Ilan Lior

Eritrean and Sudanese citizens living in Israel are planning a general strike on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to protest the government policy concerning migrants and asylum seekers. Over the past 24 hours messages have been circulating among the community nation-wide, calling for people to stay home on Sunday.

Many migrants in Israel work in restaurants, coffee shops, hotels and in cleaning.
On Saturday evening, the final decisions will be ironed out during a general meeting in Levinsky Park in south Tel Aviv.

"The public is invited to support the asylum seekers community by attending the assembly that will be held following the inhuman Israeli towards the refugees in the country, including dozens of arrests and imprisoning people with no trail and with no release date," the event's Facebook page said.

"All of the refugees sit together, we think, we organize and try to do something," said Kunda, a Sudanese citizen who has been living in Israel for the past six years. "We will strike, we will protest," he said. "We want to say that we deserve to live, we deserve human rights."

The last few weeks have seen a number of protests following the approval of an amendment to the Prevention of Infiltration Law, cutting the maximum period for which African migrants can be in detention without trial for illegally entering Israel.
Last month, about 100 African migrants left the new Holot detention center and marched to Jerusalem to protest.

The Holot facility is capable of holding some 3,300 people. Detainees are free to leave it during the day, but are required to be present at the center three times a day for a head count – morning, afternoon and evening. The 500 migrants who have been moved there thus far are not allowed out from 10 P.M. to 6 A.M. and are barred from working.

Two weeks ago, an estimated 1,000 Sudanese and Eritrean migrants, along with Israeli human rights activists, marched through the streets of Tel Aviv to urge the government to consider the asylum requests of migrants from Africa and release the approximately 3,000 held in Israeli custody.

African migrants protest their detention in Tel Aviv, Dec 28, 2013Credit: David Bachar



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