African migrants protest Israeli detention center

photo/Reuters

Associated Press

JERUSALEM — Hundreds of Israelis and African migrants have marched down Tel Aviv’s main boulevard to protest a government plan to build a detention facility to hold those who enter the country illegally.

The government estimates that more than 30,000 Africans, mostly from Sudan and Eritrea, have entered Israel through the porous southern border with Egypt since 2005.

Israel says the migrants are overwhelming the small state and threaten the country’s Jewish character. But many Israelis say their country should not turn away people fleeing repression.

Last month, Israel announced plans for the detention center and began construction of a border fence.

The migrants say they need legal status and work permits until it is safe to go home.

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