Jerusalem, Sep 2 (EFE).- More than 100 people were injured in clashes between Eritrean asylum-seekers and Israeli police in Tel Aviv on Saturday, authorities said.
The violence erupted during an event at the Eritrean embassy as participants clashed with anti-Eritrean government protesters. Police intervened as the situation turned ugly.
Israel’s Magen David Adom emergency services reported that 114 people suffered injuries, eight of them in serious condition.
Thirty police officers were among those injured.
Police said a group of Eritreans disrupted the event by throwing stones, prompting the police to disperse the rioters using tear gas, stun bombs, and shots.
“Israeli police have been…dealing with widespread disturbances of the peace in several locations in the Tel Aviv area,” the police said in a tweet.
It said police forces used means to disperse riots and made arrests of dozens of lawbreakers. “So far, 39 suspects have been arrested, and in their possession, weapons, tear gas, and electrical stun guns were found.”
Authorities claimed that the police regained control, and calm returned to the streets in the southern Tel Aviv area.
In anticipation of disturbances, authorities had deployed hundreds of officers in the area, given a history of violent incidents at similar events in Israel and other countries.
Anti-government protesters accuse attendees of Eritrean events of supporting an alleged repressive regime in the northeast African country.
Despite the preparations, Eritrean protesters managed to destroy several patrol cars and knock down barriers set up by the police.
“The officers fired their weapons as they felt their lives were in danger,” a police spokesman said.
Yarkon district police chief Haim Bublil told the local media that the intensity of the violence was shocking.
The police officer said the authorities coordinated with the two sides in the run-up to the event.
“Opponents of the regime broke through the barriers, fought with police, threw rocks and fences. We used dispersion methods. We were surprised by the intensity of the violence,” he said.
Violence within the Eritrean asylum-seeking community has occurred in Israel in the past.
Since Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia 30 years ago, there have been no new elections, and the local government requires exit visas for its citizens to leave the country.
Hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes in Eritrea. An estimated 25,000 of them live in Israel. EFE