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Photo: Gil Nachshon
Protests in Haifa over the killing of Solomon Tekah
Photo: Gil Nachshon
Prominent Ethiopian Israelis: We live in fear, police think this is Harlem
Members of the community warn that situation at boiling point as hundreds protest across the country after 19-year-old shot dead by off-duty police officer in Haifa; MK blasts minister for ignoring situation

The Ethiopian Israeli community has reached breaking point over the deaths of its members at the hands of the police, three of its prominent members say, two days after 19-year-old Solomon Tekah was shot and killed by an off-duty policeman in a Haifa suburb.

 

 

"From this point, nothing will be the same," says Rachel Gil Yosef, one of the organizers of the protest following the shooting of Yehuda Biagda at the beginning of the year.

 

Protests in Haifa over the killing of Solomon Tekah. The banner reads: Skin color is not a reasonable cause for suspicion!  (Photo: Raanan Ben Tsur)
Protests in Haifa over the killing of Solomon Tekah. The banner reads: Skin color is not a reasonable cause for suspicion! (Photo: Raanan Ben Tsur)

 

Demonstrations over Tekah's killing were held throughout the country Monday evening, and several main roads and intersections were blocked. Three demonstrators and three police officers were lightly wounded in the central demonstration in Haifa. About 10 other demonstrators were treated at the scene.

 

Gil Yosef said: "When we protested the killing of Yehuda Biadga, we said that if we did not treat the root of the problem, we would be crying for more boys, and here we are. When the authorities won't deal with it and the public is not invested in it, we count our dead children. We are living in fear, parents are scared for their children."

 

"It bothers everyone, and I keep hearing about people who say that the protest must go up a level, and I agree because this has become part of the routine.

 

"I do not trust this organization to do something to build trust like putting this policeman on trial. No PR messages will help - they will keep on lying."

 

Protesters block the highway in Rishon Letzion  (Photo: Aya Minsky)
Protesters block the highway in Rishon Letzion (Photo: Aya Minsky)

 

Attorney Elias Inbram said: "The policemen seem to believe they are living in Harlem and that we of Ethiopian origin have arrived in a land flowing with milk and honey. There are quite a few young people who are afraid to walk down the street.

 

"Those of Ethiopian origin have demonstrated so far in a moderate, quiet and nonviolent manner, but after Yehuda Biadga and Solomon Teka their patience is over and relations between them and the Israel Police are getting worse.

 

"For example, the issue of a camera for every officer – it doesn’t exist. If the officer was on duty and had a camera, they could have decoded it faster, and if he was not on duty, why would he be so reckless?

 

"You see something, call the station, call police to take care of it. The definition of the word dangerous is being exploited."

 

Protests outside the home of Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Photo: Ono News)
Protests outside the home of Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Photo: Ono News)

 

"Blacks have become an easy target and the darker you are, the more dangerous you are," says Avi Yalou, says another leading activist.

 

 "When a policeman feels in danger, it's not because he had stones thrown at him, but simply because black people were standing in front of him. This community has given its blood for society and state, but racism leads to police opening fire in broad daylight at citizens of Ethiopian origin. "

 

He added: "I do not want their apology, because that will not bring back Solomon or Yehuda or any of those boys who died because of an encounter with the police. I want the next police officer to think for a moment before he puts his hand on his gun and starts firing at civilians."

 

Blue and White MK Pnina Tamano-Shata slammed police brutality in dealing with the protests that erupted across the country on Monday evening and blasted Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan for not taking the demonstrators seriously.

 

MK Pnina Tamano-Shata (Photo: Knesset)
MK Pnina Tamano-Shata (Photo: Knesset)

 

 

"I regret that what is happening now is a loss of control by the police who chose to fire (stun grenades) directly at children and adults," she said.

 

"I wish all the wounded a speedy recovery, but the community is fighting for living in security here in our country. We have been experiencing terrible upheaval since the late Solomon Tekah was shot and the policeman's speedy release to house arrest.

 

"Despite my attempt to calm the situation in a dialogue with Public Security Minister Erdan, he was not prepared to answer the phone. Apparently he went to sleep while our children were demonstrating and the situation was getting worse." 

 


פרסום ראשון: 07.02.19, 10:30
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