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Israel: protests over shooting of teenage Ethiopian Jew

PROTESTS: Demonstrators gather following the killing of a teenage Ethiopian Jew by an off-duty police officer

PROTESTS IN Israel continued last night following the death a teenage Ethiopian Jew who was shot by an off-duty policeman.

Solomon Tekah was taken to hospital after the shooting, which took place on Sunday in Kiryat Haim, but later died.

Police have said that the off-duty officer had attempted to stop a fight between several young people and that when he informed them he was a policeman, they threw stones at him.

“Feeling that his life was in danger”, the officer then opened fire, according to a statement from the police.

The 18-year-old’s death has mobilised Israel’s Ethiopian community, which has long complained of racial injustice at the hands of the authorities, with protesters gathering in Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Protesters have clashed with police and some demonstrations have erupted into violence. Those outraged by the teenager’s killing have blocked traffic at key road intersections across Israel.

One reporter, who spent an hour and a half with demonstrators reported no violence during that time but a mood of frustration and pain.

One protester told AFP news agency: "We'll do whatever we can to make sure police will stop killing people because of their skin colour.

He added: "We don't know if this is going to happen again or not.

"But we need confidence that the state or police give us guarantees it won't."

Yesterday, police said 136 people had been arrested in connection with the protest violence, The Times of Israel reported.

The local publication reported that public security minister Gilad Erdan acknowledged the “the great sorrow and suffering that tens of thousands of people have suffered” but said there would be a crackdown on the violent protests.

“The police must gradually act,” Erdan said.

The officer who shot Tekah has been arrested on suspicion of unlawful. He has been placed under house arrest.

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