December 19, 2013
Israel arrests 150 more African asylum seekers, just hours into second freedom march
After a grand three-day march by 150 imprisoned African asylum seekers ended in their mass arrest in Jerusalem yesterday, Israeli border police nipped a second wave in the bud this afternoon.
Around 3:30 p.m., just a few hours after a second group of 150 asylum seekers left Holot — the state's newest desert prison for undocumented immigrants — and set out on Highway 211, cops in yellow vests and "IMMIGRATION" caps moved in for another round of arrests. According to photo-activist collective ActiveStills, police arrested the refugees "using harsh violence," with "only few activists in place and trying to help." (Arrests at the capital on Tuesday were aggressive as well, but dozens of photographers and reporters were there to capture them.)
The announcement of the second exodus earlier today was almost more inspiring than the first: It indicated that this struggle would be a steady build, not a falling rocket. Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, the org that oversees the plight of African asylum seekers in Israel, sent out the following statement around 2:30 p.m.:
So police took a more proactive approach than last time, closing in on the protesters before they even had time to emerge from the desolate south and show their faces in civilization.
Here's a video of them marching earlier in the day (via activist John Brown), when spirits were considerably higher: