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Violent Clashes At Protest By Ethiopian Jews

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Twelve protesters and 57 police officers have been injured in Tel Aviv after some of the most violent scenes in the capital's history.

 

Hundreds of people gathered in the city centre to protest against alleged police brutality and racism following the emergence of video footage apparently showing an Israeli Defence Force soldier of Ethiopian origin being assaulted by police.

The footage which was filmed on 26 April shows officers forcing Damas Pakada to the ground and hitting him.

The officers alleged that Mr Pakada assaulted them first, but the video shows no sign of aggression on his part.

More than 40 protesters were arrested during the clashes

When senior officers saw the video, Mr Pakada was released without charge and both of the policemen in the video were suspended by their force.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld has confirmed that one officer has now been fired.

The planned demonstration, which had been organised by the Ethiopian Jewish community, had started peacefully but turned physical after protesters overturned a marked police car in the city.

Authorities deployed water cannon, smoke bombs and horses in Rabin Square to disperse demonstrators as they chanted “a violent cop should be in jail”.

More than 40 protesters were arrested by police.

Speaking after clashes between police and protesters, Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement saying: "All claims will be looked in to but there is no place for violence and such disturbances."

Mr Netanyahu has said he will break off from negotiations on forming a new coalition government in the country to meet with Ethiopian activists and IDF soldier Mr Pakada.

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