Thousands demonstrated outside the Rwandan embassy in Herzliya on Wednesday, February 7, against the government’s plan to deport African refugees and asylum seekers from Israel.
The protesters, mostly asylum seekers along with a couple of hundred Israelis, among them Hadash and Communist Party of Israel activists, brandished signs stressing that recognizing the right of asylum is a moral duty. Among the slogans were: “We will not fall into despair, we will stop this deportation”; “Recognizing refugees is a moral imperative”; “We don’t believe the racists”; and “Kagame — We are not for sale.” Yet another sign asked the Rwandan president how many bombs their blood had bought for him.
Protesters also chanted in unison “Deportation kills”; “We are not criminals. We are refugees”; “We will not succumb to despair, we’ll stop the expulsion”; “Acknowledging refugees is a moral duty”; “We won’t accept racist plans”; “One refugee doesn’t expel another”; “Shame on you Rwanda”; and “We are not for sale.”
Around the world on Wednesday, protests were also held from Toronto to Beijing. In Berlin, chants of “Bibi, Kagame, stop the deportation” were heard outside the Rwandan embassy. Organizers in Toronto identified themselves as “African refugees who were unwelcomed by Israel but who were warmly received in Canada” and who decided to join the protest outside the Rwandan Consulate in solidarity with their brothers and sisters in Israel. In Stockholm, where an earlier protest had been held outside the Rwandan embassy on Friday, February 2, organizers of Wednesday’s demonstration held signs that read “Human lives are not for sale,” and “One refugee for $5,000.” Other protests were held Wednesday in front of the Rwanda embassies in Paris, Geneva and the Rwandan UN mission in Manhattan; near the Israeli embassy in Stockholm and the Israeli consulates in San Francisco and Chicago.