The Israeli police in an attempt to quell riots fired several stun grenades and water cannon on thousands of rioters of Ethopian jews residing in the heart of Tel Aviv, Isreal.
The protesting Israeli Jews of Ethpian Origin were demonstrating on Sunday, May 3, 2015 against what they described as police racism and brutality after a video clip had emerged, showing which showcased some police officers brutalizing a black soldier.
The demonstrators overturned a police car and threw bottles and stones at officers in riot gear at Rabin Square in the heart of Israel’s commercial capital.
Israel’s Channel 2 television said tear gas was also used, something the police declined to confirm.
These Tensions rose after an incident a week ago in a Tel Aviv suburb where a closed circuit video camera captured a scuffle between a policeman and a uniformed soldier of Ethiopian descent, Damas Pakada.
Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna, who was present at the protests, said the Israeli Red Cross earlier in the evening said at least 40 people, including 23 police officers, were injured.
Hanna stated that it was notable that the injuries weren’t more serious, when Israeli police clashes with Palestinian protesters often ended with far more severe injuries or deaths.
“Very clearly, the Israeli police are capable of riot control that does not involve the loss of human life or severe injury.” She said.
Hanna said the protest began peacefully when demonstrators brought evening rush hour traffic to a standstill for more than an hour by blocking one of the city’s main highways.
There was no immediate sign of demonstrators dispersing and some protest organisers told Israeli media that sections of the crowd had been incited to violence.
The protest turned violent when it later moved to Rabin Square, where Israeli riot police and special forces fired stun grenades and water cannon into the crowds.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, taking time out from the final days of negotiations with political parties on forming a coalition government, said he would meet Ethiopian community leaders and the soldier on Monday, May 4, 2015.
Two policemen have since been suspended on suspicion of using excessive force.