Some 200 social activists on Friday protested in Tel Aviv's Shapira neighborhood after Molotov cocktails were thrown at four apartments where African asylum seekers reside, including an apartment used as a daycare center for children.
Maya, one of the activists who rallied in support of the asylum seekers, said: "We came here to try to calm the spirits down, and help the victims of these attacks feel that there are other people who do not carry messages of hate."
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Another activist noted that Thursday's incident "stemmed from a feeling of frustration and helplessness harbored by the residents of the neighborhood, who are rightfully angry at the government for neglecting their neighborhood. But on the other hand there are the refugees, who are also suffering.
"This area is becoming hell," the activist noted, adding that "the two sides need to level their criticism at those who are responsible, instead of blaming each other. The government needs to give alternatives and address these problems – otherwise the situation will deteriorate," he said.
'Good night, fascist.' (Photo: Yaron Brenner)
Shapira resident Lior Levy said he came out to show solidarity with the refugees. "Many of the residents demand to have them deported, mainly for racist reasons. These are helpless people. This neighborhood was forsaken in the hands of racist groups like the KKK, who wish to terrorize innocent people.
Baso, 26, from Sudan, said he does not believe the police will do anything because "they think in the same manner as the people who did it. They probably think we shouldn’t be here," he said.
Protesters in Shapira neighborhood (Photo: Yaron Brenner)
Another neighborhood resident, who is originally from Ethiopian descent, told Ynet: "I am a Jew, but I look Sudanese because of my skin color. I notice the stares every time I walk down the street. There is indiscriminate racism around here. The establishment screwed over the veteran residents, and now they have someone to blame it on – it's like a vicious cycle – a barrel of explosives that will eventually detonate."
Meanwhile, other residents said that while they don't condone the act, they themselves are the true victims of the situation. "We are the ones suffering from violent acts, not them," said veteran neighborhood resident Dorit. "We are scared to cross the street or send our children to the playground on their own. There is a lot of violence going on between the refugees," she said.
Another resident added: "We are not a sewer, where you discard of all the refugees. Scatter them all over the country and let us live in peace.
"We object to violence and racism, but these activists have the nerve to come here and accuse us of racism. The residents here suffer from rising levels of crime and violence. This has nothing to do with racism – it has everything to do with the fact that the government threw all its problems on us. As it is this neighborhood has been neglected for many years," she said.
Omri Ephraim contributed to this report
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