News / Middle East

    African Refugees Protest Israeli Migrant Laws

    FILE - African migrants chant slogans during a protest in Rabin's square in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014.
    FILE - African migrants chant slogans during a protest in Rabin's square in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014.
    VOA News
    Thousands of African migrants are marching for a second-straight day in Tel Aviv to protest what they say is harsh treatment from the Israeli government.

    The march Monday includes stops at the embassies of the United States and several European countries, as the migrants try to draw attention to their desire for asylum and an end to laws that could place them in detention or forbid them to work.

    Israel's parliament passed a new last last month allowing authorities to indefinitely detain migrants who lack valid documents and ban them from jobs.

    More than 10,000 people turned out for rallies in Tel Aviv on Sunday.

    • African migrants take part in a protest at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, Jan. 5, 2014.
    • African migrants chant slogans during a protest in Tel Aviv, Jan. 5, 2014.
    • African migrants hold a sign during a protest at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, Jan. 5, 2014.
    • African migrants attend a protest at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, Jan. 5, 2014.
    • African migrants take part in a protest at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, Jan. 5, 2014.

    The representative for the U.N. refugee agency in Israel, Walpurga Englbrecht, criticized Israel's policy in a statement Sunday. She highlighted a new detention facility in Israel's southern desert that she said appears to operate as a place from which "there is no release."

    Migrants held at the Holot facility can leave for part of the day, but must return each night.

    Most of the Africans came from Eritrea and Sudan seeking asylum from poverty, violence and political chaos.

    Israeli authorities consider the migrants infiltrators and illegals. Officials have built a fence along the Egyptian border to try to keep them out.

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