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Dozens injured in clash between rival Eritrean groups in Israel

Tel Aviv [Israel], September 3 (ANI): Hundreds of Eritrean government supporters and opponents clashed with each other and Israeli police on Saturday, leaving dozens injured in one of the most violent street confrontations among African asylum seekers and migrants in Tel Aviv in recent memory, Al Jazeera reported on Saturday.

Fighting broke out on Saturday at Israel's Tel Aviv after hundreds of Eritreans critical of their government approached a venue where a pro-government event was being held.

According to Al Jazeera, protesters broke through police barriers and smashed windows of police and other cars as well as windows of nearby stores. They were able to enter the venue near the Eritrean embassy and smash up chairs and tables.

Magen David Adom, Israel's emergency medical service, said it treated 114 people, eight of whom were in serious condition, Al Jazeera reported.

The visuals went viral on social media platforms and showed Eritrean government supporters beating anti-government protesters with clubs.

Al Jazeera Quoting the police reported, that police did not anticipate the intensity of the violence that broke out.

Responding to the chaos, police used tear gas, and stun grenades and also fired in the air to disperse the crowd.

According to Al Jazeera, at least 30 police officers were injured in the clashes and 39 suspects have been arrested who assaulted police and threw stones at officers. Some of them were carrying weapons, tear gas and an electrical stun gun, officers said.

Police said they were reinforcing their personnel in the area as fighting between Eritreans and police and between supporters and opponents of Eritrea's government was reported to be continuing elsewhere in south Tel Aviv.

According to Al Jazeera, President Isaias Afwerki (77) has ruled Eritrea since it gained independence in 1991. Asmara has never held elections. Political parties are banned, and freedom of expression and the press are heavily restricted.

There is neither a parliament nor independent courts or civil society organisations. In addition, there is strict mandatory military service and a forced labour system, from which many Eritreans flee abroad.

The anti-government demonstrators had previously asked the police to cancel the pro-government event, which was organised by Eritrea's embassy, which they accuse of trying to monitor and track them.

"There are stark divisions among the nearly 20,000 Eritreans based in Israel. Critics of the regime describe it as the North Korea of Africa," the Al Jazeera correspondent said.

"In 2019, a pro-president supporter was stabbed and beaten to death in Tel Aviv by three people opposed to the president," the correspondent added. (ANI)