After week of protests, migrant community vows to push on next week

By
January 9, 2014 18:25

African migrants plan to keep striking indefinitely; plan to march migrant women, children to Interior Ministry.




African migrants at Lewinsky Park in Tel Aviv, January 9, 2014.

African migrants at Lewinsky Park in Tel Aviv, January 9, 2014.. (photo credit:Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post))

After a week-long strike and days of protests in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, the African migrant community has vowed to continue pushing, with members saying they don’t believe the end of the protests is in sight.

Eritrean Kidane Isaac, who has long taken part in protests and activism in the migrant community, said Thursday that while they didn’t know what the next step would be, they planned to remain on strike indefinitely.

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He said people weren’t worried that their jobs wouldn’t be waiting for them when the strike was over.

“We aren’t thinking about this at the moment. We believe that so far, the protests have been a success, and we expect things to change on the ground,” he said.

On Thursday morning, thousands of African migrants gathered again in south Tel Aviv’s Lewinsky Park to discuss the next step in the protests.

Isaac said he still didn’t know what they would do next, but that there were plans to hold a march of women and children from the migrant community outside Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar’s house in Tel Aviv on Saturday night.

Orit Marom of Assaf, an NGO that assists African migrants and has helped support the protests, said she, too, did not know what next week would hold, and was just waiting to hear from the activists in the migrant community.

She added that personally she would be going to the Knesset on Tuesday, where her organization and others have been invited to testify before the Interior Committee about the source of funding for the protests.

“We have nothing to hide, its fine,” she said.

“We can barely pay our own salaries anyway.”

Asked if the protests have been a success, she said, “Of course – these protests reached every household in Israel. The big problem with this issue was that people weren’t familiar with it. Now, no one can say that.”

The demonstrators have focused on two main demands – that the state stop jailing migrants based on the anti-infiltration amendment, and that it begin comprehensively examining the migrants’ asylum requests.

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