African migrants protest Israeli treatment

About 1,000 people, mainly Eritrean and Sudanese, leave open detention centre and march to the border with Egypt.

    About 1,000 African migrants protesting Israel's policy on asylum-seekers have marched out of an open detention centre and are camped out near the southern border with Egypt.

    The mainly Eritrean and Sudanese migrants left the Holot camp facility on Friday because Israel had not processed their claims for asylum, a statement by migrant activists said.

    "We are going to stay near the border with Egypt until a solution is found so our rights are respected," the statement said.

    The sit-in came a day after Israeli soldiers stopped the demonstrators from crossing the border.

    The protesters, who are allowed out during the day, said that their march was to protest against their "inhuman and unlimited" detention at Holot.

    One demonstrator said the authorities presented it as an "open facility", but it was "actually a prison".

    The migrants are calling on the United Nations to help resettle them elsewhere.

    About 50,000 Africans have poured into Israel in recent years from Egypt in order to flee persecution and danger.

    Israel says many are looking for employment. Some believe Israel's history as a refuge for Holocaust survivors compels it to help the downtrodden. Others fear taking in so many Africans will threaten the country's Jewish character.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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