Tel Aviv : Police fired stun grenades to disperse a rally by Ethiopian Israelis demonstrating in central Tel Aviv against alleged police brutality and widespread discrimination.
Some of the demonstrators hurled stones, bottles and chairs from nearby restaurants after attempting to storm the Tel Aviv municipality building.
Mounted police used riot stun grenades and water cannon as well as pepper spray on Sunday to disperse the crowd and clear nearby streets, but an AFP correspondent said the protesters kept returning.
Emergency medical services said 23 officers and seven demonstrators were injured in the clashes.
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said a number of protesters were arrested.
Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said dispersing the “riot” was difficult since it had no clear leadership. “There is nobody to talk to,” he told reporters.
Sunday’s protest came three days after a stormy demonstration in Jerusalem sparked by footage showing two policemen beating a uniformed Israeli soldier of Ethiopian origin.
Scores of other Israelis also joined yesterday’s rally, chanting and holding up signs reading: “A violent policeman must be put in prison” and “We demand equal rights”.
As they marched through Tel Aviv, some held their arms up in the air, wrists crossed as if handcuffed.
Demonstrators earlier blocked the Ayalon expressway during rush-hour, causing huge traffic jams on one of Israel’s central highways before police forcefully evacuated them.