Thousands of African migrants resume protest in Israel

Thousands of African migrants resume protest in Israel
Mon Jan 6, 2014 15:07:09

Thousands of African migrants, including many from Eritrea and Sudan, continued a protest outside European and North American embassies in Tel Aviv on Monday against Israel's refusal to grant them refugee status.

Thousands demonstrated outside the US embassy at Tel Aviv's beach front on the second day of a three-day strike and protest campaign.

Smaller protests were held outside the embassies of Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden and Canada, and the local representations of the European Union and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Police escorted them as they marched from south Tel Aviv, where many of them live and work without official permits, to the protest locations. Some chanted: "No more prison, no more deportations, yes to freedom."

Some 55,000 African migrants live in Israel with no clearly defined status. The Zionist regime describes them as illegal infiltrators.

The protesters denounced the detention of many African migrants in a new "open" facility near the border with Egypt, that was inaugurated late last year.

In the open facility, migrants must report to authorities several times a day. Many of those who do not report are later detained and sent to a closed facility.

Israel says it detains the migrants because they cross the border from Egypt illegally. It offers several hundred dollars to migrants who agree to go home.

Walpurga Englbrecht, the UNHCR representative in occupied lands, said in a statement that she was "particularly disquieted" about the open detention center, adding that "warehousing" refugees was not "in line with the 1951 Refugee Convention."

She also criticized Israel's labeling of many migrants as "infiltrators," saying most deserved international protection.

She said Israeli regime should examine their asylum claims.

The migrants began a three-day strike Sunday, leaving business owners in Tel Aviv - including restaurants who employ many as dishwashers - without workers.

The Zionist regime has built a fence along the border with Egypt to block the influx of migrants.


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