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Ethiopian Police Arrest, Beat Demonstrators outside Israeli Embassy

Ethiopian police used clubs to break up a group of demonstrators near the Israeli Embassy on Wednesday, injuring at least 15 and arresting at least 21.

About 2,000 Ethiopians who practice a form of Judaism gathered in Addis Ababa on Wednesday to demand the right to Israeli citizenship.

Witnesses say police arrived on the scene and began attacking the demonstrators with clubs, forcing the crowd to disperse.

Police say they halted the protest because the group did not have a permit to demonstrate.

Officials with the Israeli Embassy said the ambassador, Oded Ben-Haim, later met for an hour with representatives of the local Jewish community to hear their grievances.

Israel accepted tens of thousands of Ethiopians in the 1980s and 1990s after the chief rabbinate ruled they were historically Jews who were forced to convert to Christianity. Thousands more have been pushing for Israeli citizenship, but Israel has not let them in.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.