Holot Residents Go on Curfew Strike Over Eritrean Politics

YERUSHALAYIM -
African illegal migrants walking out of the Holot detention center in the Negev on Tuesday, after the High Court ordered their release. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
African illegal migrants walking out of the Holot detention center in the Negev. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

Hundreds of Eritrean residents of the Holot detention facility in southern Israel broke curfew and remained outside the facility in protest over the arrest and jailing of four residents of the camp, Haaretz reported. The four were arrested by authorities after they demanded that managers of the facility separate supporters and opponents of the Eritrean government in order to prevent tension between the two groups.

According to authorities, the four were inciting the groups to commit acts of violence against each other, but residents said that they were unfairly arrested.

Many of the Eritrean migrants in Israel have requested political asylum, claiming that they are afraid to return to their country because they feared persecution by the government. But according to Haaretz, residents have complained that there are dozens of supporters of the government in Holot, and political tensions between the two groups have spilled over into violence and rioting.

The four arrested Eritreans, according to authorities, were planning a “payback” attack on another group of residents. Authorities dismissed the issue of tension between pro- and anti-government supporters, saying that it had nothing to do with the day-to-day living conditions in Holot.

The Holot detention facility is a halfway house for illegal immigrants from Africa who are demanding to stay in Israel, claiming asylum from persecution. While their cases are considered, the migrants remain in Holot. The facility is open during the day, but residents must return and remain inside between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. the next morning. Those who fail to return are subject to deportation.