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PHOTOS: Right-wing activists disrupt Eritrean mourners

Right-wing activists intentionally disrupt memorial ceremonies held in a public park by Eritrean immigrants. Police arrest two neighbors who attempt to intervene. [Comment added below]

Israeli right wing protesters gather in a park in South Tel Aviv.

Israeli right-wing protesters gather in a park in South Tel Aviv.

Every Saturday, African asylum seekers from the Eritrean community gather in a small park on De Modina Street in the Shapira neighborhood of south Tel Aviv. There, they hold memorial ceremonies for the loved ones who have died in Eritrea or in Sinai while on their way to Israel.

For years, these ceremonies have taken place every week with no sound system or speeches – just people sitting and crying together. This week, right-wing activists from the neighborhood announced an event on Facebook, calling on local residents to hold a picnic and “reclaim” the park. They claim the sound of people crying disturbs their sleep during the weekend, and that their children are afraid to play in the park.

Around 15 people gathered in the park at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 15, while approximately 100 Eritreans started to arrived in the area. The right-wing protesters hung colorful balloons and made noise with whistles and chants to disturb the mourners. Slowly, the Eritreans stated to leave the park, some seemed to be scared by the protest, and some wanted to continue mourning in a place where people would not disturb them.

An Israeli right-wing protester hangs balloons as  Eritreans mourn.

An Israeli right-wing protester hangs balloons as Eritreans mourn.

 

Eritreans mourn next to balloons hung by right-wing protesters

Eritreans mourn next to balloons hung by right-wing protesters

 

A right-wing protester tries to attack a neighbor who came to support the asylum seekers.

A right-wing protester tries to attack a neighbor who came to support the asylum seekers.

Two neighbors who came to confront the right-wing activists and document the scene were attacked, when one woman took a stone and tried to throw it at them. Others told them, “You leftists are the real problem in south Tel Aviv. We know where you live, and you have one week to leave the area before we burn your house.”

Other residents who passed by the park and confronted the right-wing activists were also threatened: “No leftist will live in Shapira or other areas of south Tel Aviv. We will take you all out.”

A right-wing protester blows a whistle to disturb the mourning ceremony of Eritrean asylum seekers.

A right-wing protester blows a whistle to disturb the mourning ceremony of Eritrean asylum seekers.

 

An Israeli policeman (right) holds a stone he took from a right-wing protester (center) after she tried to attack two neighbors. The woman was not detained or questioned by the police.

An Israeli policeman (right) holds a stone he took from a right-wing protester (center) after she tried to attack two neighbors. The woman was not detained or questioned by the police.

Police who arrived at the park chose to detain the two neighbors who were arguing with the right-wing protesters for “disturbing the public order.” The right-wing activists who tried to attack them were not checked by the police.

After the right-wing protesters celebrated their small victory of forcing the Eritreans out of the park, they said they will be back next Saturday to make sure no more memorial ceremonies will be held in the area.

Policemen arrest one of the two neighbors who attempted to show support with the Eritrean asylum seekers mourning in the park.

Policemen arrest one of the two neighbors who attempted to show support with the Eritrean asylum seekers mourning in the park.

 

A right-wing protester watches as Eritrean asylum seekers leave the De Modina park in south Tel Aviv.

A right-wing protester watches as Eritrean asylum seekers leave the De Modina park in south Tel Aviv.

Correction:

Following reader comments and a public discussion regarding this post, we found it necessary to clarify that not all participants taking part in the events consider themselves to be right-wing activists; some define themselves as local activists working for the betterment of the neighborhood and living conditions in it. Nonetheless, we stand fully behind the textual and visual description of the events as they occurred.

Activestills is committed to covering struggles in various arenas, among them the struggles of both Israelis and African asylum seekers for better living conditions. We thank our readers for their comments, which contribute to the much needed dialog between the different ethnic and political groups living in the neighborhoods of south Tel Aviv.

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    COMMENTS

    1. The Trespasser

      That’s lovely piece of journalism.

      Illegal migrants supposedly have more rights for a park than locals who had paid for its construction.

      Reply to Comment
      • Just remember what goes around will come around. This is temporary for Eritreans soon they will be on their worm and loving land. I don’t think for second they will be there for long. Don’t make negative history for people will always remember. If you can be kind and create good name for your generation to come. Thank you for good people of Israel for been kind and we will remember those as well.

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          >Just remember what goes around will come around.

          What went around so far is that Southern Tel Aviv streets had became unsafe, about 45000 (forty-five thousands) jobs lost to Israelis and Palestinians, even more stolen bycicles and total lack of Egyptian hashish on the market. Oh, I do remember that well, rest assured.

          >This is temporary for Eritreans.

          Unless, of course, the refugee status is granted. But why would asylum seekers fight for this status if the situation is “temporary”?

          >soon they will be on their worm and loving land.

          It’s “warm”. Worm is a non-arthropod invertebrate animal
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worm

          >I don’t think for second they will be there for long.

          And what exactly makes you not thinking that they will be here for long? Situation in Eritrea should change? The dictactor will step down? UN invade? I bet you have one of Palantíri, or are working for CIA.

          >Don’t make negative history for people will always remember. If you can be kind and create good name for your generation to come.

          Negative? NEGATIVE?!

          There is not even bloody one single reason why pagan mourning rituals must be held in the only park in the neighborhood EVERY SATURDAY were they disrupt the only day off for many who live there.

          >Thank you for good people of Israel for been kind and we will remember those as well.

          Were most pleased to be of a service and impatiently waiting for your soonest depart to the warm and loving land.

          Reply to Comment
    2. Vadim

      How come there’s a “right-wing protester” and a “neighbor”?

      Maybe it was the other way around? A neighbor and a left-wing activist?

      Reply to Comment
      • a neighbour

        actually, except for about ten people, most of the people organised and participated in the event where not from the neighbourhood. the people who came to document the event (not to confront) and were arrested for that, are neighbours. take it as you want it, but face the truth.

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          Propaganda bullshit.

          >except for about ten people, most of the people organised and participated in the event where not from the neighbourhood.

          The only people not from the neighborhood, are the Eritrean migrants.

          >the people who came to document the event (not to confront) and were arrested for that, are neighbours.

          Lies. Israeli police can not arrest for documenting an event in Tel Aviv.

          Reply to Comment
    3. Gaven

      Trust me as they say history will repeat itself .

      Reply to Comment
    4. i live there

      You may not believe what is written in this article!!! All a big lie!!! Write a manipulative and deceptive … It is the residents who live around the garden who protests on Saturday morning because a lot of illegal immigrants filling every Saturday morning the public garden designed for children to play and instead of illegal immigrants have taken over there and perform rituals waking up the whole neighborhood (mostly religious people) and prevent children and residents to enjoy the garden public …
      Do not believe what is listed in the article!

      Reply to Comment
    5. David

      The people living there, immigrants or Israeli, there don’t have any other local gardens for the children to play. What do you want them to do?

      Reply to Comment
    6. bob wisby

      Good to see the Israeli police doing their job, keeping order. You can always rely on an Israeli policeman to arrest the wrong person. It’s in their training.

      Reply to Comment