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PHOTOS: Thousands of asylum seekers hold 'silent march' on streets of Tel Aviv

Photos by Activestills, text by Haggai Matar

African refugees and Israeli activists protest Israel’s immigration policies, calling for the release of all refugees imprisoned under the Prevention of Infiltration Law, and the recognition of their rights as refugees, December 28, 2013. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Over 6,000 African asylum seekers and Israeli activists hit the streets of Tel Aviv for a silent march to protest Israel’s immigration policies Saturday night. The protesters called for the release of all refugees imprisoned under the revised “anti-Infiltration Law,” which permits indefinite detention in an “open” facility, and demanded recognition of their rights as refugees.

The demonstrators marched with candles and signs while others brandished the official numbers given to them by the government. One Eritrean asylum seeker was seen walking alongside an Israeli who, as a reserve soldier, caught him at the border between Israel and Egypt.

African refugees and Israeli activists protest Israel’s immigration policies, calling for the release of all refugees imprisoned under the Prevention of Infiltration Law, and the recognition of their rights as refugees, December 28, 2013. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

African refugees and Israeli activists protesting Israel’s immigration policies, calling for the release of all refugees imprisoned under the Infiltrator Law, and the recognition of their refugee rights, December 28, 2013. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

At one point, some of the demonstrators began chanting and running, similar to last week’s protest which also took place in Tel Aviv. However, the protest organizers were able to hold hands at the front line and keep the protest calm.

The protesters marched to the Holocaust memorial in Rabin Square at the heart of Tel Aviv, where community leaders gave speeches about fleeing genocide and refugee rights.

African refugees and Israeli activists protest Israel’s immigration policies, calling for the release of all refugees imprisoned under the Prevention of Infiltration Law, and the recognition of their rights as refugees, December 28, 2013. (Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

African refugees and Israeli activists protest Israel’s immigration policies, calling for the release of all refugees imprisoned under the Prevention of Infiltration Law, and the recognition of their rights as refugees, December 28, 2013. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Thousands of African asylum seekers crowd Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square during a ‘silent protest’ against government policies. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Related:
Prison break: African asylum seekers claim their place on the Israeli political map
Turning Israel into a ‘state of all its infiltrators’

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    COMMENTS

    1. Yessir Arafatbastard

      Why don’t they come to Gaza to live?

      Reply to Comment
      • David

        The Gentile kind of people like you were cheering on the elimination of my people in WWII in Birkenau and Auschwitz. People like you closed the gates to the masses fleeing rising anti-Semitism in Europe.

        You’re trash.

        Reply to Comment
        • Phil

          OMG what a terrible thing to say, you ought to be ashamed!

          We can’t change the past, we can only make steps in the present to change the future.

          Reply to Comment
        • Gog

          lol

          Reply to Comment
        • Adam Dayton

          David –

          Yes, because the Holocaust is clearly comparable to those being punished for military desertion.

          Last time I checked, as early as early 2012, over 100,000 people from Darfur returned to their homes. Please provide statistics on how many of those were sent to gas chambers.

          Reply to Comment
    2. “At one point, some of the demonstrators began chanting and running, similar to last week’s protest which also took place in Tel Aviv. However, the protest organizers were able to hold hands at the front line and keep the protest calm.” : Wonderfully done. 6000 strong. Showing social organization is there.

      I do not believe the best possible legal outcome will provide relief for all asylum claimants in Israel; that would have to be a political outcome. But many, maybe very many, would, I think, win on their merits. Still, there is a sense in which this struggle is over the future of Israeli law, beyond the tens of thousands of lives awaiting resolution. The law uses people to move forward, giving back some, but not necessarily all, in return.

      Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn9

        Indeed. They will be a wonderful asset to their home countries when they are all expelled from Israel. Though sometimes I wonder if they would be as effective without the European-sponsored organizations that do most of the planning and execution at these kind of events. Perhaps they should follow their charges back as well. So much good work to be done in Africa.

        Reply to Comment
    3. vlady100

      One world
      one family
      equal writes ?

      GO HOME TO THE YOURS FAMILY in Afrika

      Reply to Comment
    4. Josh

      Freedom..Go back home and do what every man with a pair of balls did to gain his freedom Fight….

      Reply to Comment
    5. Ayoub

      For the Israeli government to allow the UNHCR to do its job firstly to see who is POLITICAL ASYLUM SEEKERS and who is an infiltrator for economic reason!!! Then, I guess there will be no problem for the executive authority to take any action with regard to the legal status of those Africans asylum seekers.

      Reply to Comment
    6. 2face

      The best thing is to start learning how to live illegal and commit crimes like selling drug working without paper and using fake credit card. I hope it will be better for Israel to listen than all this stupid protest. Try and marry there daughter than coming with African girls. With marriage, the pleasure will be from there daughter also

      Reply to Comment