6 Jan 2014

African migrants protest in Tel Aviv

12:47 pm on 6 January 2014

Thousands of African migrants held a peaceful protest march in Tel Aviv on Sunday to protest against their treatment by the Israeli government.

African demonstrators in Tel Aviv on Sunday.

African demonstrators in Tel Aviv on Sunday. Photo: AFP

The protesters, mostly Eritreans and Sudanese, are angry about a law that allows illegal immigrants to be detained for a year without trial.

They demanded the right to work legally and for their asylum bids to be processed.

''Yes to freedom, no to prison!" they chanted.

A BBC correspondent in Jerusalem said the the new law has dashed their hopes that a recent crackdown would be halted.

The migrants said they would hold further demonstrations outside UN offices and foreign embassies in Tel Aviv on Monday.

Human rights groups say more than 300 people have been arrested since the law was passed by parliament three weeks ago.

Israel says some 60,000 migrants, largely from Eritrea and Sudan, have crossed into Israel from Egypt since 2006. Many live in poor areas of Tel Aviv and say they want asylum and safe haven.

An border fence has cut the influx from Egypt since 2012.