Some 200 people marched through Tel Aviv’s southern Hatikva neighborhood on Sunday in a protest against asylum seekers that resulted in several violent incidents.
The demonstration was called to protest the police’s handling of an assault case, where an Eritrean suspect allegedly attacked a female resident a week and a half ago. But at the protest, marchers shouted slogans like “Death to the Sudanese” and “Hatikva neighborhood is ours.”
They also harassed nearby asylum seekers and attacked one Eritrean, kicking him and spraying him with pepper spray. In addition, one person grabbed items from a supermarket and threw them at a woman and baby as they were passing by.
At least eight people were arrested.
Shortly after the demonstration, young men who identified themselves as fans of the Bnei Yehuda soccer club showed up carrying flags and hurled firecrackers at the demonstrators.
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After police arrested some of the marchers, the demonstrators decided to march to the local police station to “free the detainees.” When they arrived, they blocked the road in front of the station. Police then beefed up their forces, in part by deploying undercover and mounted officers, in an effort to restore calm.
Tel Aviv is home to some 40,000 asylum seekers, the vast majority of whom are either Eritrean or Sudanese, and many reside in the city's southern neighborhoods, long neglected by local and state authorities.