Intelligence agencies from around the world, and "especially the Mossad," sponsored violent clashes between rival Eritrean asylum-seeker factions in Tel Aviv that left over 100 people wounded over the weekend, the African dictatorship's Information Ministry claimed on Tuesday.
Asmara claimed that intelligence agencies stoked the clashes between Eritrean government supporters and opponents of President Isaias Afwerki as part of a "useless conspiracy" in an attempt to harm the Eritrean people, their national identity, culture and values. The ministry also vowed to expose "the lies about the Eritrean refugees" in the future.
Most Eritrean asylum seekers in Israel have fled the oppressive dictatorship in their homeland which gained independence from Ethiopia in 1991 after 32 years of armed conflict. Since its inception, the country has been under the single rule of President Afwerki and has earned the moniker "Africa's North Korea." Refugees from Eritrea report that citizens are conscripted into the military at a young age and subjected to forced labor under inhumane conditions.
The recent riots in Tel Aviv during an Eritrean festival are part of a global pattern: such festivals often become platforms for African asylum seekers to protest against the regimes they have fled. These festivals are viewed by regime opponents as propaganda tools and financial resources for the Eritrean government. Critics argue that the government uses these events to raise funds that ultimately support the oppression of its citizens.
Similar clashes between supporters of the Eritrean dictatorship and its opponents have broken out at other festival locations worldwide.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Eritrea's independence, and festivals celebrating Eritrean culture have been held in various cities globally. According to protesters, these events are organized by supporters of Eritrea's authoritarian regime. In Israel, the festival was spearheaded by the Eritrean embassy.
The riots in Tel Aviv resulted in at least 135 injuries, 15 of which were severe, as well as significant property damage and a feeling of chaos and loss of control among residents. The protesters pointed out that the root of the issue lies in Eritrea. "The problem starts in Eritrea—it's a dictatorship. The president has been in power for 30 years and shows no signs of stepping down. The people there have nothing to eat or drink," Eritrean government opponents told Ynet.