Ethiopian-Israelis, police clash at Tel Aviv protest against racism and brutality

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A demonstration by hundreds of Ethiopian-Israelis and their supporters in Tel Aviv against racism and police brutality turned violent.

The demonstrators marched to Rabin Square, where clashes with police broke out on Monday evening, resulting in arrests, The Jerusalem Post reported. Rabin Square was the site of previous protests by Ethiopian-Israelis, including one in May that turned violent.

Prior to the clashes, two demonstrators were arrested for blocking a road in central Tel Aviv, according to Israel Police.

The protest began in the afternoon in part also to protest the decision by Israel’s attorney general to close the case against the Israeli police officer who was caught on camera beating an Ethiopian-Israeli soldier without charges.

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The demonstrators said they will continue their protests until they see changes, according to reports.

Hours earlier, Israel Police released the findings of a special committee made up of police and representatives of the Ethiopian-Israeli community to address the community’s needs and the areas of police responsibility.

The committee investigated 300 cases involving Ethiopian-Israeli juveniles and found no evidence of discrimination or violation of their rights. The report recommended that police officers undergo cultural training to better understand the Ethiopian community, to work to increase the number of Ethiopian-Israelis who serve on the police force and to have Amharic speakers in police stations in areas with a high concentration of Ethiopian residents.

There are 663 Ethiopian-Israel police officers, or 2.3 percent of the force. Ethiopians make up about 2 percent of the Israeli population.

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