Over 200 African asylum-seekers who walked from an ‘open’ detention facility in Israel’s southern desert to Jerusalem to protest a new law that allows their indefinite detention were "violently" arrested on Tuesday by Israeli police and will be taken to prison, an immigrant-rights watchdog said.
“Immigration police is violently arresting refugees at the Knesset who marched to demand the right to liberty,” the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, an Israeli group focused on the rights of refugees and undocumented migrants, said on its Twitter account.
HRM added the African migrants, who it reported were crying and calling for “freedom” and “no more prison,” will now spend up to three months in prison, before being sent back to indefinite detention in an ‘open’ center.
Amnesty International Israel also reported on its Twitter account that refugees were being loaded onto buses by Israeli authorities.
The new Israeli law targets what it calls “Infiltrators,” a term used for the African migrants. It calls for Africans living illegally in Israeli cities to be moved to so-called ‘open’ detention centers. Supporters of the law see African migrants as illegal job-seekers, but critics say they are asylum-seekers fleeing persecution and war in their home countries.