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A week in photos: African asylum seekers strike for their rights

At the start of this week, African asylum seekers in Israel began a ‘Strike for Freedom,’ not showing up to their places of work and taking to the streets to make their demands: an end to detentions of asylum seekers and that the Israeli government individually examine their asylum claims. Tens of thousands marched to central Tel Aviv, foreign embassies and staged a protest outside the Knesset, ultimately declaring the strike open-ended.

Read +972′s full coverage of African asylum seekers in Israel

An African asylum seeker holds a poster calling for a three-day strike as asylum seekers gather by thousands in Levinsky Park in south Tel Aviv, Israel, to protest against a new detention center and to call on the Israeli government to recognize their refugee rights, January 4, 2014. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

Some 30,000 thousands African asylum seekers participate in a protest calling to free all African refugees imprisoned in Israeli prisons and detention centers and calling for the recognition of all refugees rights, Tel Aviv, Israel, on January 5, 2014. The protest was the first event in a three-day general strike of African asylum seekers in Israel, and is the biggest African refugee protest in Israel’s history. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

Around 30,000 thousands African asylum seekers participate in a protest calling to free all African refugees imprisoned in Israeli prisons and detention centers and calling for the recognition of all refugees rights, Tel Aviv, Israel, on January 5, 2013. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

African refugees’ reflections on a restaurant window as an Israeli man eats. Some 30,000 thousands African asylum seekers participated in a protest calling to free all African refugees imprisoned in Israeli prisons and detention centers and calling for the recognition of all refugees rights, Tel Aviv, Israel, on January 5, 2013. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

African refugees sit with their backs to a sign reading, “Tel Aviv,” during a demonstration in front of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) offices in Tel Aviv, Israel. January 6, 2014. Around 1,500 African refugees and supporters protested in front of the UNHCR offices, calling the agency to support their struggle against Israel’s asylum policies. Some 20,000 people participated in the second day of the ‘Strike for Freedom,’ demonstrating in front of 10 different embassies, calling on the international community to support their struggle. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

African refugees march in the streets of Tel Aviv during the second day of the ‘Strike For Freedom,’ Israel, January 6, 2014. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

More than 10,000 African refugees and supporters participate in the main demonstration in front of the American embassy, calling for support for their struggle against Israel’s asylum policies. Tel Aviv, Israel. January 6, 2014. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

Over 10,000 African refugees and supporters participate in the main demonstration in front of the American embassy, calling for support for their struggle against Israel’s asylum policies. Tel Aviv, Israel. January 6, 2014. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

More than 10,000 African refugees and supporters participate in the main demonstration in front of the American embassy, calling for support for their struggle against Israel’s asylum policies. Tel Aviv, Israel. January 6, 2014. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

Around 1,500 African refugees and supporters protest in front of the UNHCR offices, calling the organization to support their struggle against Israel’s asylum policies. Tel Aviv, Israel. January 6, 2014. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

Around 2,500 African refugees and supporters protest in front of the Ethiopian embassy, which also represents the African Union in Israel, calling for support for their struggle against Israel’s asylum policies. Tel Aviv, Israel. January 6, 2014. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

Around 500 African refugees and supporters protest in front of the Italian embassy, calling for support for their struggle against Israel’s asylum policies. Tel Aviv, Israel. January 6, 2014. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

Around 1,500 African refugees and supporters protest in front of the Canadian embassy, calling for support for their struggle against Israel’s asylum policies. Tel Aviv, Israel. January 6, 2014. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

More than 10,000 African refugees and supporters participate in the main demonstration in front of the American embassy, calling for support for their struggle against Israel’s asylum policies. Tel Aviv, Israel. January 6, 2014. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

More than 10,000 African refugees and supporters participate in the main demonstration in front of the American embassy, calling for support for their struggle against Israel’s asylum policies. Tel Aviv, Israel. January 6, 2014. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

More than 10,000 African refugees and supporters participate in the main demonstration in front of the American embassy, calling for support for their struggle against Israel’s asylum policies. Tel Aviv, Israel. January 6, 2014. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

More than 10,000 African refugees and supporters participate in the main demonstration in front of the American embassy, calling for support for their struggle against Israel’s asylum policies. Tel Aviv, Israel. January 6, 2014. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

More than 10,000 African refugees and supporters participate in the main demonstration in front of the American embassy, calling for support for their struggle against Israel’s asylum policies. Tel Aviv, Israel. January 6, 2014. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

More than 10,000 African refugees and supporters gather in Levinsky Park in south Tel Aviv for an ‘open mic’ meeting on the third day of ‘Strike For Freedom’. Israel, January 7, 2014. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

More than 10,000 African refugees and supporters gather in Levinsky Park in south Tel Aviv for an ‘open mic’ meeting in the third day of ‘Strike For Freedom’. Israel, January 7, 2014. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

More than 10,000 African refugees and supporters gather in Levinsky Park in south Tel Aviv for an ‘open mic’ meeting in the third day of ‘Strike For Freedom’. Israel, January 7, 2014. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

More than 10,000 African refugees and supporters gather in Levinsky Park in south Tel Aviv for an ‘open mic’ meeting in the third day of ‘Strike For Freedom’. Israel, January 7, 2014. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

Leaders of African asylum seekers strike hold a press conference in Tel Aviv on January 7, 2014, where they announce that the strike will go on until further notice.(photo: Activestills.org)

 

Thousands of African asylum seekers wait to board buses heading towards Jerusalem to continue their protest in front of the Israeli Knesset, Tel Aviv, Israel, January 8, 2014. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

 

Thousands of African asylum seekers wait to board buses heading towards Jerusalem to continue their protest in front of the Israeli Knesset, Tel Aviv, Israel, January 8, 2014. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

Thousands of African asylum seekers participate in a protest in front of the Israeli Knesset in Jerusalem on January 8, 2014. As the strike entered its fourth day, committees announced that it would go on indefinitely until further notice. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

Thousands of African asylum seekers participate in a protest in front of the Israeli Knesset in Jerusalem on January 8, 2014. As the strike entered its fourth day, committees announced that it would go on indefinitely until further notice. (photo: Activestills.org)

 

 

Thousands of African asylum seekers participate in a protest in front of the Israeli Knesset in Jerusalem on January 8, 2014. As the strike entered its fourth day, committees announced that it would go on indefinitely until further notice. (photo: Activestills.org)

Related:
‘Either we live with all our basic rights or we don’t live at all’
The dark side of Israel’s economy
On left-wing NGOs and asylum seekers, ‘JPost’ is all doublespeak

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Kolumn9

      Your headline is wrong. They don’t ‘strike for their rights’. They demand privileges they have no claim to. Whether they make ridiculous demands alone or in a crowd it makes no difference.

      As illegal migrants they have no right to be in Israel, and no right to work in Israel. They demand to be allowed to stay and be given permanent status but have no claim to such. And so they go on strike from jobs that they hold illegally in the first place and gather in mass with other people that have no right to walk this ground in the first place and in doing so only make obvious how ridiculous they and their demands are.

      They should all be deported immediately and I don’t really care where.

      Reply to Comment
      • Elena

        So they are allowed to stay in Israel for “illegal” employment at lowest wages, but if they demand any basic right they are ridiculous?

        Israeli immigation laws are racially based. Do you know what the difficulties are for these refugees to get a legal status however hard they are working ad trying to integrate?

        Are these people not judenrein for you personally? Do they “have to” be happy with their slave-like life? Do you grasp the meaning of your attitude?!

        How to call a “democracy”, which is based on occupation, segregation, racism and “Judenreinheit”?

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          >So they are allowed to stay in Israel for “illegal”

          As a matter of fact, they are not “allowed to stay”.

          >…employment at lowest wages

          Most Israelis are working for the very same lowest wages.

          >but if they demand any basic right they are ridiculous?

          They are demanding refugee status, which they are not entitled to.

          >Israeli immigration laws are racially based. Do you know what the difficulties are for these refugees to get a legal status…

          Because they are not refugees.

          >however hard they are working

          Oh, so now they are working hard to get their refugee status? That’s something new.

          >and trying to integrate?

          Trying to what? MWAHAHA. You are not living in Israel, are you?

          >Are these people not judenrein for you personally?

          Newspeak nonsense.

          “Judenfrei (“free of Jews”) or Judenrein (“clean of Jews”) was a Nazi term to designate an area “cleansed” of Jewish presence during The Holocaust.”

          “Are these people not clean of Jews for you personally?” What? Sorry, makes no sense.

          >Do they “have to” be happy

          No. They don’t have to be happy. Actually, they are more than welcome to go elsewhere.

          >with their slave-like life?
          You don’t know what word “slave” means, do you?.

          Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work.[1] Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation.

          >Do you grasp the meaning of your attitude?!

          How so very righteous of you. Regretfully, these inflitrants are not refugees, are not being held here as slaves and can leave at their own discretion.

          >How to call a “democracy”, which is based on occupation, segregation, racism and “Judenreinheit”?

          Since Israel is not based on occupation, segregation, racism and that fancy German-like word which has no meaning (you are too much into using words you actually don’t understand), there is nothing which would prevent Israel from being a democratic state

          Reply to Comment
      • daniel

        i think you don’t have idea about refugees and you don’t have humanity,look all over the world

        Reply to Comment
      • Filmon

        What do you mean the headline is wrong? These refugees are only asking for basic refugee rights as they are entitled to. Their crisis has been known around the globe for some time now, yet, the state of Israel (the so called democratic one) has deliberately been deaf to the plight of these people. And how can you think that they are demanding for rights they are not entitled to.They deserve to be treated as human beings, not as slaves, you are so happy when they work 24*7 for minimum wage, and yet when they ask to be treated as refugees you scream that they have no claim to it, You’re just a racist aristocrat.

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          >What do you mean the headline is wrong?

          That it is factually wrong and misleading.

          >These refugees

          They are not refugees.

          >are only asking for basic refugee rights as they are entitled to

          1) They are demanding and threatening.
          2) They are not refugees, therefore they are not entitled to refugee rights.

          >Their crisis has been known around the globe for some time now

          3)They have no “crisis” of their own. Entire Africa is in a permanent state of crisis, caused by tribal wars.
          4) Eritrean draft dodgers are criminals and not refugees
          5) No one is currently persecuted in Sudan

          >yet, the state of Israel (the so called democratic one) has deliberately been deaf to the plight of these people.

          Their only plight is that they don’t want to get back to their primitive, undeveloped countries.

          >And how can you think that they are demanding for rights they are not entitled to

          They are demanding refugee status, which they are not entitled to.

          >They deserve to be treated as human beings, not as slaves

          Rubbish newspeak.
          They are not slaves. They are free to leave anytime they please.

          >you are so happy

          Rubbish.
          Actually, GREAT MOST Israelis are quite unhappy with influx of cheap, unneeded workforce.

          >when they work 24*7

          Rubbish. Just rubbish.

          >for minimum wage

          More rubbish. Over 50% of Israeli citizens are working for the same minimal wages.

          >and yet when they ask to be treated as refugees you scream that they have no claim to it

          Because they are not refugees. Draft dodging is not a sufficiently good reason to seek political asylum.

          Reply to Comment
    2. Steve

      Elena dear hate to break it to you,But these people have lived for millennia on the same continent and are still having a problem to integrate with each other,hence Africa is no stranger to refugee situations (its a tribal thing)
      Filmon Dictating to people that they will demonstrate for basic rights by way of threats,is hypocritical,when a human being fully understands the meaning of freedom and basic rights then he can ask for them,as an individual or group.Beating those who do not comply to community leaders ie An individual that doesn’t feel like demonstrating and would rather work, is breaking Israeli law.You may or may not be pleased to learn that it is normal practice in Democracies for law enforcement personnel to beat individuals or groups breaking the law if they feel threatened or in danger while performing their service..

      Reply to Comment
    3. The 4th photo from the top is very artistic and meaningful; and I like the very last photo, one man looking directly toward the camera in a crowd of faces focused on a speaker. Real photographic talent at Activestills.

      No matter one’s opinion on the merits of the protest, I think all, or most at any rate, can marvel how 10s of thousands can amass on such short notice with, as far as I have heard, no significant violence. Given the level of fear and anger they must have, all the more remarkable. They have shown humanity something new. I would like to say it will pay off for them, but that rests in the minds of a few Court Justices.

      As to use of “rights” in the title, access to the courts under the 1951 convention is under contest, as is incarceration under what amounts to indefinite administrative detention. Both of these are challenges under Israeli law.

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        >can marvel how 10s of thousands can amass on such short notice

        You are so naive (facepalm)

        >with as far as I have heard, no significant violence.

        These fellas know perfectly well what would be cost of ANY violence towards Israelis.

        >Given the level of fear and anger they must have, all the more remarkable.

        Given that not even 1% of them are entitled to a political asylum…

        >They have shown humanity something new.

        No, they did not, sorry. The only lesson learned is that leftists would do pretty much anything to damage the state of Israel.

        >I would like to say it will pay off for them, but that rests in the minds of a few Court Justices.

        It would pay off really well. Especially in the light of the fact that great mosts of businesses owners won’t be employing unreliable migrants anymore.

        >As to use of “rights” in the title, access to the courts under the 1951 convention is under contest…

        Since they are not refugees, the 1951 convention does not apply to them. Sorry.

        Reply to Comment

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