Thousands of Israeli Jews of Ethiopian origin had taken part in a rally before some demonstrators tried to storm the city's municipality building. Police fired tear gas and stun grenades as protesters threw bottles and bricks. Tensions have risen after video emerged last week showing two policemen beating an Ethiopian Israeli soldier. Two officers have been suspended and the incident is being investigated.
Ethiopian Jews living in Israel have long complained of discrimination, followed reports that some Israeli landlords were refusing to rent out their properties to Ethiopian Jews. Ethiopian Israeli Jews' income is considerably lower than the general population, and they are much more likely to face limited educational opportunities and to end up in prison, according to a non-governmental organization which assists Ethiopian Jews in Israel.
Tens of thousands of Ethiopian Jews were airlifted to Israel in secret operations in the 1980s and 1990s to escape famine and civil war. There are now around 135,000 Ethiopian Jews living in Israel.