PHOTOS: Thousands of African asylum seekers protest prolonged detention in Tel Aviv

Photos: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org, Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org
Text: Haggai Matar

Approximately 2,000 African asylum seekers and Israeli activists marched from Levinsky Park in south Tel Aviv to Rothschild Boulevard Saturday night to protest the arrests that took place during two “freedom marches” earlier this week. They blocked major intersections in the heart of the city while chanting “freedom!” At least three protesters were arrested.

African asylum seekers march in Tel Aviv to protest prolonged detention, arrests made during “freedom marches” earlier in the week. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)
African asylum seekers march in Tel Aviv to protest prolonged detention, arrests made during “freedom marches” earlier in the week. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Earlier this week, a group of approximately 150 asylum seekers went on a two-day “freedom march” from the Holot “open prison” in Israel’s south to the Knesset in Jerusalem. Upon their arrival, the group was arrested, placed on buses and sent to a closed facility in the Negev. Just one day later, another 130 asylum seekers left Holot, this time in the direction of Tel Aviv. That time, immigration officers stopped the march shortly after it began.

African asylum seekers march in Tel Aviv to protest government policies, arrests made during “freedom marches” earlier in the week. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)
African asylum seekers march in Tel Aviv to protest government policies, arrests made during “freedom marches” earlier in the week. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)
African asylum seekers march in Tel Aviv to protest government policies, arrests made during “freedom marches” earlier in the week. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)
African asylum seekers march in Tel Aviv to protest government policies, arrests made during “freedom marches” earlier in the week. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)
Israeli activists help an African asylum seeker who was pepper sprayed during a refugee protest in Tel Aviv. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)
Israeli activists help an African asylum seeker who was pepper sprayed during a refugee protest in Tel Aviv. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)
Police hold back Asylum seekers, Israeli protesters during march in central Tel Aviv. (photo: Activestills.org
Police hold back Asylum seekers, Israeli protesters during march in central Tel Aviv. (photo: Activestills.org
African asylum seekers march in Tel Aviv to protest prolonged detention, arrests made during “freedom marches” earlier in the week. (photo: Activestills.org)
African asylum seekers march in Tel Aviv to protest prolonged detention, arrests made during “freedom marches” earlier in the week. (photo: Activestills.org)
African asylum seekers march in Tel Aviv to protest prolonged detention, arrests made during “freedom marches” earlier in the week. (photo: Activestills.org)
African asylum seekers march in Tel Aviv to protest prolonged detention, arrests made during “freedom marches” earlier in the week. (photo: Activestills.org)
African asylum seekers march in Tel Aviv to protest prolonged detention, arrests made during “freedom marches” earlier in the week as Israelis attending a performance at the Bima national theater look on. (photo: Activestills.org)
African asylum seekers march in Tel Aviv to protest prolonged detention, arrests made during “freedom marches” earlier in the week as Israelis attending a performance at the Bima national theater look on. (photo: Activestills.org)