DETAINEES PASS the time at the Holot detention facility in the western Negev..
(photo credit: BEN HARTMAN)
Around 500 African migrants held a protest at the Holot desert detention facility Tuesday night, returning to their cells at around 5 a.m. after hours of talks with prison officials.
Detainees said the protest began after around 30 Sudanese detainees arrived at Holot on Monday after having been moved there from Saharonim.
According to the protesters, nine of the detainees had no beds and while some managed to find a place to sleep others slept outside or on the floor the first night.
On Tuesday night, they said, they refused to enter the facility for the 10 p.m.
bed count, staying outside next to the front gate.
At this point, hundreds of other detainees joined them, coming out of their cell blocks and joining them in a rally outside the front gate.
According to the Israel Prison Service, there were beds for all of the detainees brought over from Saharonim, just that the detainees refused the beds they were offered and the IPS was not willing to open new blocks in the facility that were still not open for use.
It added that during the protest a large number of police and wardens were called to the scene and after hours of negotiating with the detainees, they managed to convince them to go back inside.
No one was hurt during the protest but some damage was caused to facility property, it said.
Mutasim Ali, a detainee at Holot who was one of the leaders of the asylum seeker protests earlier this year, said that at the moment there are beds for all the detainees at the facility, but not if the IPS brings more detainees from Saharonim and elsewhere without opening new rooms and cell blocks.