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Ethiopian-Israelis rally in Tel Aviv against fatal police shooting of black youth

A woman holds a banner reading in Hebrew, "our children blood is not lawlessness," as Ethiopian-Israelis protest against police brutality in Tel Aviv on July 8, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

Hundreds of Ethiopian-Israelis, mostly women, have taken to the streets of Tel Aviv to vent their anger at a police officer's fatal shooting of a black youth, demanding justice in the case. 

The protesters denounced police violence and discrimination against Israel's largely impoverished Ethiopian community during Monday's rallies, chanting slogans such as "Racism kills."

They also carried signs reading, “Mom, don’t let me be the next victim,” and “different from the outside but the same within.”

One of the demonstrators, identified as Janet, told the Ynet news site, “If my child cannot go out and come home [safely], no mothers are going to be silent. I’m prepared to bleed, and I’m prepared to die.”

Ethiopian-Israelis protest against police brutality in Tel Aviv on July 8, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

An off-duty Israeli police officer shot to death 19-year-old Ethiopian-Israeli Solomon Tekah in the Kiryat Haim suburb of Haifa on June 30.

A youth counselor, who was working close to the scene of the shooting, stressed that there was no danger to the officer’s life that could have prompted him to open fire.

“He (the policeman) lined up to shoot and fired a single bullet when Solomon was at least 30 meters away from him. From where I was standing, [I saw] he wasn’t shooting toward his legs but was really aiming straight at him," he said.

However, the Justice Ministry’s Police Internal Investigations Department claimed a probe into Tekah's death had concluded that the officer had fired at the ground and the bullet apparently ricocheted into the teenager.

The killing sparked violent protests last week, leaving over 100 police officers injured and nearly 200 demonstrators arrested.

Additionally on Monday, Tekah’s parents and family visited his grave, where they called for justice in the case.

“I lost a dear son who did nothing wrong,” said Tekah’s father, Worka. “I put my hope in the country’s judges and it is their responsibility to ensure justice is done. I paid a heavy price, the community paid a heavy price.”

Tekah's family members vowed to continue demonstrations against Israel's systemic discrimination against the minority Ethiopian community until the officer, who killed the black youth, is indicted and removed from service.

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