Protesters stand opposite police during a protest for the death of 18-year old Solomon Tekah of Ethiopian descent, after he was shot by police, in Tel Aviv, Israel July 2, 2019.
(photo credit: CORINNA KERN/REUTERS)
Police are preparing for protests by the Ethiopian-Israeli community against the murder of teen Solomon Tekah to begin again on Monday as the Tekah family ends the traditional week of mourning.
"We will not stop the protests until the current reality changes," said members of the Tekah family. "When the police is briefing the media about Solomon's criminal past, for us they murder him again. Let's assume that he had a certain past, is that a reason to kill him? What is this, a criminal organization?"
The Ethiopian-Israeli community is threatening to escalate the demonstrations until the officer who killed Tekah is indicted for the killing and the police remove him from service.
Police warned that while it supports the right to protest, those who demonstrate must keep public order and refrain from violence.
Police further stated the scenes of violence against police officers or citizens will not be tolerated, Police spokesperson said on Monday.
Former and present police officers called for the Police Investigation Department (PID) to conduct itself in a dignified manner and not give into pressure from the protests. "Support an esteemed officer who made contact after work hours and fired according to procedure, even if the incident ended tragically, to all of our sorrow," said the officers.
"We are sorrowed by Solomon's death, but this isn't meant to lead to a direct strike on the police office who was attacked and who's life was in real danger."
Maariv reported that the officer's version of events was found reliable and accurate even after hearing testimonies and examinations of the scene, as well as a pathological examination of the deceased. PID is expected to finish the investigation in the next few days.
Last Tuesday, protests around the country turned violent, leaving more than 110 police officers wounded and 136 protesters arrested.
On Wednesday, Israeli police officers braced for violence and worked to prevent the blocking of central highways and junctions by protesters. They prepared with riot gear, along with vehicles which spray skunk water.
Five protesters were arrested in Tel Aviv as some 200 protesters tried to block the Azrieli junction; five were arrested in Yavne after demonstrators threw stones at police officers; and two more were arrested in Rishon Lezion for using Molotov cocktails.
Police urged protesters to refrain from using violence, and said they will move against anyone who acts in a dangerous or inappropriate manner. Bystanders were also urged by police to stay away from the areas where protests are taking place.
With the end of the week of mourning and the reported results of the PID's investigation, police are preparing for renewed protests and are warning that this time they will respond with force to all public disorder.
Herb Keinon and Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.
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