Several thousand people, mostly from Israel’s Jewish Ethiopian minority, protested in Tel Aviv against racism and police brutality on Sunday, shutting down a major highway and scuffling with police on horseback into the night.
At least 46 people were injured – at least 23 of them police officers. Police made 26 arrests.
Protesters clashed with police on Sunday, May 5, throwing rocks and bottles at officers in riot gear. Police deployed officers on horseback and used stun grenades to try and control the crowds in central Tel Aviv.
Israeli media reported several arrests were made and that there were injuries among both police and protesters. Channel 2 TV said the protesters came from all over the country.
Police chief Yohanan Danino told channel 10 TV that “the use of violence by a small minority of the many protesters does not serve their struggle.”
He added, “Whoever harms police or civilians will be brought to justice.”
Activists told the station they don’t want violence to escalate to the level seen in Baltimore where the death of a man in police custody sparked riots.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said thousands of people took part in Sunday’s protest. Protesters blocked roads in central Tel Aviv as well as a main highway leading to the city during the day.
It was the second such protest in several days and supporters say the demonstrations will continue. The first rally last week in Jerusalem turned violent.
Simmering frustrations among Israel’s Ethiopian community boiled over when footage emerged of an Ethiopian Israeli in an army uniform being beaten by police last week.
Protester’s marched in Tel Aviv, with some blowing whistles or chanting “violent police officers belong in jail.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he will meet Monday with representatives of the community as well as the beaten solider.
Thousands of Ethiopian Jews live in Israel, many of them secretly airlifted into the country in 1984 and 1990, but their absorption into Israeli society has been rocky.
Report compiled with information from Associated Press.
CCTV correspondent injured during Tel Aviv protests
CCTV correspondent Stephanie Fried was wounded while covering the violence in Tel Aviv. These images were filmed by her cameraman. She was hit in the head by a stun grenade. She is in the hospital now and is expected to make a full recovery.