Israel-Egypt border – Israeli police have raided a protest camp near the Israeli-Egyptian border, arresting the 1,000 African asylum seekers protesting there, and injuring dozens.
A group of asylum seekers, mainly from Eritrea and Sudan, left Israel’s Holot detention centre on Friday in a mass act of civil disobedience. Opened six months ago, the detention facility is referred to by the government as an “open prison”. Detainees are forced to participate in a head count three times a day, can’t work or study, and live under harsh conditions.
Since the detention facility was set up, Israeli immigration police have imprisoned more than 2,500 African asylum seekers under the country’s so-called “Infiltrators Law”, which allows Israel to detain, without charge or trial, migrants who have entered the country without legal documentation.
The Israeli Ministry of Interior does not process individual asylum requests; according to human rights groups, the country has recognised less than 200 asylum seekers as refugees since its creation in 1948.
The detainees decided to march towards the Israeli-Egyptian border, only a few kilometres from Holot, to demand that Israel and the international community recognise in their refugee status, or alternatively allow them to go to Egypt, where most travelled to Israel from.
The Israeli army and police forces prevented the marchers from advancing to the border, and a temporary camp was established nearby.
Forty-eight hours later, Israeli immigration police were sent to the camp in large numbers, forcibly boarding all the protesters on a bus, and returning them to prison.