Over 150 people have been injured, some critically, after Israeli forces used live fire against Eritrean demonstrators protesting against their home country’s government in Tel Aviv, in the occupied territories.
The Saturday clashes took place outside the Eritrean embassy, which had organized an event marking the anniversary of Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki’s rise to power.
Hundreds of Eritrean government’s opponents rushed to the venue, protesting the now-30-year-old rule of Afwerki, whom human rights groups have condemned as being highly repressive.
“Why did we run from our country? Because of this dictator (Afwerki). Why they are celebrating here today? Why the Israeli police gave them a permit to celebrate … for this dictator?” asked protester, Hagos Gavriot, referring to the pro-government event.
Israeli forces, however, declared the gathering against Eritrean government illegal, ordering demonstrators to clear the street, because they had originally promised to hold their protest away from Eritrean government’s supporters.
The regime’s forces then used live bullets, stun grenades, and mounted forces to disperse the protesters. The Israeli police officials confirmed that their forces had used live fire against protesters.
Nearly 160 people, including 30 Israeli forces, were injured during the standoff.
Israel’s medical officials said 157 people were received for treatment, including a dozen with gunshot wounds, eight of whom in serious condition.
Nearly 40 protesters were also arrested, with Israeli authorities claiming that they had “assaulted police and threw stones” at them.
Eritreans make up the majority of more than 30,000 African asylum seekers in Israel.
The Tel Aviv regime has been under fire by rights groups for racism and discrimination against non-white individuals.