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ERITREAN ANTI-GOVERNMENT PROTESTORS CLASH WITH REGIME SUPPORTERS AND ISRAELI POLICE AT EMBASSY EVENT

Region of Concern: Israel and Eritrea

Written By Alina Papke; Edited by Elena Alice Rossetti, Iris Hautaniemi Forsberg

Date: September 2, 2023


Map of Israel and Eritrea[1]


Event: On September 2, violent Eritrean regime opponents targeting an event hosted by the Eritrean Embassy in Israel injured 30 Israeli police officers. In total, the clash led to 114 injured. Eritrean anti-government protestors abroad targeted government-linked festivities several times this year, across Europe and North America[2], including in Germany[3] and Sweden.[4] The perpetrators were refugees, who left Eritrea dissatisfied with their country’s situation. Protestors select these events as they consider them a propaganda tool for a regime that disregards human rights.[5]


Significance: Anti-regime protests will very likely put local crowd control officers at risk of injury or death. Other likely casualties include both Eritreans and local populations near the event. Anger at the Eritrean government will very likely lead to the destruction of public and private property. This likely strains local police, public officials, and the population. It is very likely there will be growing resentment towards Eritrean refugees. There is a roughly even chance some will generalize discontent toward other North African migrants, likely increasing the risk of hate crimes targeting this group. This likely leads to a stronger demand for local law enforcement, straining human and material resources. There is a roughly even chance this will adversely affect stability in regions affected by Eritrean protests, as law enforcement faces security challenges when trying to both de-escalate protests and stop hate crimes.


Recommendations: Local law enforcement should increase officers employed for crowd control whenever Eritrean representatives organize events. They should instruct organizers to restrict the number of attendees. The organizers should choose a location that allows for easy crowd control. Law enforcement should enable peaceful counter-demonstrations and designate a restricted, separated area for protesters to reduce the likelihood of violent clashes between pro- and anti-government Eritreans. They should use their social media channels to warn the local population to avoid the event location to minimize the risk of civilian casualties. Law enforcement should also warn Eritrean civilians of the escalation potential for these events by posting in Arabic. As a preventative measure, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) should address the trigger for the violent protests and continue to pressure Eritrea to improve its human rights framework. The UNSC should intensify its sanctions against Eritrea.

 

[2] Dozens injured in a protest by asylum-seekers outside Eritrean Embassy in Israel, AP News, September 2, 2023. https://apnews.com/article/israel-eritreans-protest-asylum-seekers-clashes-4e9824a25b635ee0fd669fb1b31d7a62

[3] Giessen Eritrea festival clashes leave 26 police officers injured, BBC, July 9, 2023. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-66145900

[4] Scores injured after protesters against Eritrea's government attack cultural festival in Sweden, Euronews, August 4, 2023. https://www.euronews.com/2023/08/04/scores-injured-after-protesters-against-eritreas-government-attack-cultural-festival-in-sw

[5] Giessen Eritrea festival clashes leave 26 police officers injured, BBC, July 9, 2023. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-66145900

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