Hundreds of African asylum seekers marched on Wednesday from the Holot detention facility to Saharonim Prison in southern Israel on Thursday in protest of the government’s deportation policy and imprisonment of asylum seekers earlier this week, Israeli daily Haaretz reported.
Carrying signs saying “Stop The Deportation”, “We Are Not Criminals” and “Set Our Brothers Free” protesters demanded the release of foreign nationals arrested for refusing to leave Israel willingly.
The dissenters additionally requested that Israel quit detaining those evacuees who declined to be extradited to Rwanda following a mystery bargain between the two nations where the East African nation was paid for each displaced person it consented to get.
Kigali claimed it was merely helping fellow Africans and only those willing to leave Israel voluntarily.
Asylum seekers who left voluntarily were provided with a cash incentive and free air tickets by the Israeli authorities.
The protest march followed a hunger strike, by the asylum seekers in Holot detention centre, which commenced Tuesday night.
On Tuesday morning seven Eritreans were summoned for pre-deportation hearings and immediately afterwards were taken to Saharonim Prison because of fears that they would flee.
They had previously been held at the Holot open detention facility and were among the first to receive deportation notices a month ago.
Two of them survived torture in Sinai en route here, but their asylum requests were denied.
Under new rules issued by Israel’s Interior Ministry’s Population, Immigration and Border Authority, they will be held indefinitely at Saharonim due to their refusal to leave Israel.