More than 300 African migrants refused to return to their cells in an Israeli detention center this weekend, saying they are being held illegally and demanding release.
The 340 detainees – mostly from Sudan and Eritrea – barricaded themselves in the yard of the Saharonim detention center in the south of Israel this weekend. A special Israel Prison Service force, brought from outside the center, on Sunday morning returned them to their cells.
Most of the detainees were caught illegally crossing the Egyptian border into Israel. Prison service staff tried and failed to negotiate an agreement by which the detainees would return to their cells voluntarily. The detainees did not use violence.
The situation, which began when the detainees refused to return as normal to their cells, was resolved on Sunday when the prison service force entered the wing of the prison where the detainees were protesting, separated them from one another and took them back to their cells.
“The entry to the wing and the removal of the migrants from it has been completed,” the prison service said afterward. “The migrants demonstrated passive resistance only.”
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