Ethiopian Jews hold fresh protest in Israel: Police

Israelis of Ethiopian descent hold signs during a protest against police brutality and racism in the northern city of Haifa, Israel May 12, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Israelis of Ethiopian descent hold signs during a protest against police brutality and racism in the northern city of Haifa, Israel May 12, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

JERUSALEM (AFP) - Hundreds of Israeli Ethiopian Jews joined activists in the northern coastal city of Haifa on Tuesday to protest against alleged racism, a police spokeswoman said.

The demonstration passed peacefully under the watch of dozens of police officers, according to the spokeswoman.

Ethiopian Jews in Israel have staged several rallies against alleged police brutality and racism in recent weeks and some gatherings have turned violent as they clashed with security forces.

One protester in Haifa interviewed by public television said Tuesday's demonstration was "intended to ensure that members of our community aren't judged solely on the colour of their skin by Israeli society".

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met members of Israel's Ethiopian community this month in a bid to ease tensions after a video emerged showing two policemen beating a uniformed Israeli officer of Ethiopian origin.

"We must stand together as one against the phenomenon of racism, to denounce it and eliminate it," he said after the meeting.

Israel has some 135,500 Jewish Israelis of Ethiopian descent, including more than 50,000 born inside the country.

The community has been at the centre of storms over alleged institutionalised racism in recent years.