July 2, 2019 / 5:02 PM / 19 days ago

Israelis of Ethiopian descent protest over police shooting

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Thousands of Israelis of Ethiopian descent and their supporters staged sit-down protests at major road junctions throughout the country on Tuesday after a member of the immigrant community was shot dead by police.

Around 20,000 Ethiopian Jews, who trace their roots to the biblical King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, were brought to Israel on secret flights in the mid-1980s and early 1990s. But they have at times complained of racist discrimination.

On Saturday, 18-year-old Solomon Tekah was shot dead in the northern city of Haifa by an off-duty policeman. The policeman said he drew his gun while trying to intervene in a brawl between two groups of youths, who ended up turning against him.

A police spokesman said the officer who carried out the shooting had been arrested pending an investigation.

Riot police scuffled with some of Tuesday’s protesters in a bid to free up back-logged traffic. A police spokesman said at least 22 people were arrested.

Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne

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