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Echoes of Baltimore on the Streets of Jerusalem

About 1,000 Israeli-Ethiopians took to the streets of Jerusalem Thursday to protest police violence against their community.

Israeli-Ethiopians took to the streets of Jerusalem Thursday to protest police violence against their community. 


(TELESUR)
The protests were triggered by a recent video that showed Israeli police assaulting Demas Fekadeh, an Israeli soldier of Ethiopian descent. "We are demonstrating against police brutality, the police are using disproportionate force against Israeli-Ethiopian civilians and there are many cases where they have been beaten by the police," protester Avi Tesema told Reuters.

According to local media, the mayor of Jerusalem came down to the streets to calm the protesters. However, one protester responded by affirming the racist nature of the Israeli police. "I don't want a hug. Look at me as you would look at a white person. I don't need a hugs. That is a patronizing attitude that says that I'm incapable, so let's give him a hug," Haaretz quoted the protester as saying. Other demonstrators made references to the current turmoil in the U.S. city of Baltimore, where people have been protesting police violence against black men across the country. “Apparently the streets of Israel must burn like they do in Baltimore, in order for someone to finally wake up. The apartheid regime is back, this time in 21st-century Israel,” Gadi Yevarkan, head of the Campaign for Equality for Ethiopian Jews, told the Israel-based news outlet Ynet.

“Apparently the streets of Israel must burn like they do in Baltimore, in order for someone to finally wake up. The apartheid regime is back, this time in 21st-century Israel,” Gadi Yevarkan, head of the Campaign for Equality for Ethiopian Jews, told the Israel-based news outlet Ynet. 

Ethiopian-Israelis number about 120,000 of Israel's 8 million population. They began immigrating to Israel in the 1970s after chief rabbis determined that they had biblical roots. The protests took place in front of the police headquarters located near the residence of the Israeli prime minister. The police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse the protesters and protect the prime minister’s residence. This is not the first time the Ethiopian community received ill-treatment from the Israeli police. Last year a 22-year-old Ethiopian-Israeli died during protests after receiving a serious injury when the police used tear gas against him. His family found him handcuffed and unconscious while in police custody. He died shortly after in a hospital.

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