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Israel arrest armed suspect following racist threats against African migrant march

Migrants held a march against the deportation plans [AFP]

Date of publication: 25 February, 2018

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Two suspects, one armed, have been arrested in Israel following threats against a march calling for the rights of African migrant workers to be respected.
Israel police arrested two suspects, one armed, Saturday following racist threats to disrupt a migrant march that went ahead this weekend in Tel Aviv.

The threats were made online to target protesters at a demonstration against controversial plans to deport African migrants from Israel.

The men were "detained for questioning", police said in a statement according to AFP.

"Friends it's happening... the battle to throw out the infiltrators... It's time to riot and defend our home," the post read.

One of the comments in response to the post read: "I am armed."

Israeli police swooped on the suspects before the migrant rights' rally was held.

"Israel police immediately located the two suspects, detained them for questioning and at the conclusion confiscated from one of the suspects his weapon," the statement added.

Thousands of refugees and human rights defenders marched in Tel Aviv Saturday, as a deadline looms for some migrants to accept a monetary settlement and deportation or face jail.

Migrants who entered the country illegally can take $3,500 and a single ticket to Rwanda or they will be imprisoned.

Most have told media they would rather face jail than the consequences of returning home, where many have fled war, poverty, military conscription and social problems.

Smaller counter-demonstrations against the march were held but no trouble was reported.

Police feared a repeat of 2012, when Israeli anti-migrant rioters attacked refugees and African shops shouting "blacks out".

About 42,000 African migrants live in Israel, half of them children, women or men with families, the interior ministry has reported.

Single men are being told to leave Israel, but many fear for their lives if they return back to Africa - many coming from Eritrea or Sudan, which have appalling human rights' records.

Israel has offered to send them to a third country, believed to be Rwanda or Uganda.

The plan has been slammed by some human rights groups in Israel and the United Nations.

"We think it's a racist decision and it’s a dangerous decision,' demonstrator Hila Aloni said.

"We are standing here together, Israelis and refugees and we want to live here together in this country."




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