Ofir Berman

Photographer
   
Eritrean Clashes (2023)
Location: Israel
Nationality: Israeli
Biography: Ofir Berman is an Israeli documentary photographer whose work focuses on social and cultural issues. Her work gives an intimate view of people living within the fringes of society and aims to capture the resilience and the authentic spirit in the... MORE
Public Story
Eritrean Clashes (2023)
Copyright Ofir Berman 2024
Updated Sep 2023
Location Tel Aviv
(2023)

On September 2, 2023, violent confrontations unfolded on the streets of South Tel Aviv involving Eritrean migrants who opposed the government led by Isaias Afwerki, migrants who supported his regime, and subsequently, Israeli law enforcement attempting to restore order. These clashes resulted in more than 110 individuals sustaining injuries.

Isaias Afwerki has maintained his grip on Eritrea since its independence in 1991. The nation does not conduct elections and lacks a parliamentary system, independent judiciary, and civil organizations. Eritrea operates under a one-party structure, imposing severe restrictions on freedom of expression and press freedom. Additionally, the country enforces rigorous compulsory military service and a coercive labor system, prompting numerous Eritreans to seek refuge abroad.

According to the Assaf refugee aid organization, there are currently approximately 25,500 Eritrean asylum seekers residing in Israel. Those who fled Eritrea and crossed into Israel through the Egyptian border expressed concerns about facing persecution if they were to return to their homeland. These refugees have settled in various impoverished neighborhoods within Tel Aviv, Israel's economic hub.

The clashes erupted during an event organized by the Eritrean embassy to commemorate Revolution Day on September 1, which marks the commencement of Eritrea's war of independence against Ethiopia in 1961. Prior to this incident, anti-government demonstrators had appealed to the police to cancel a pro-government gathering organized by the Eritrean embassy in Israel.



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