Eritreans protest in Israel

Published: Feb. 1, 2013 at 2:37 PM

RAMAT GAN, Israel, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Scores of Eritreans protested outside the Eritrean Embassy in Israel Friday in support of political prisoners and army officers who staged a failed coup.

The approximately 150 Eritrean asylum seekers who rallied in Ramat Gan demanded the release of the prisoners and called for the implementation of a 1997 constitution in Eritrea.

Protester Isayas Teklebrhan called for "the immediate resignation of dictator Isayas Afwerki, the immediate release of all political prisoners and the immediate implementation of Eritrea's constitution," The Jerusalem Post reported. Afwerki has been president of Eritrea since 1993 and previously led rebel forces that waged a decades-long war for independence from Ethiopia.

Another protester, identified only as Gabriel, said this month's unsuccessful attempt to overthrow Afwerki "has inspired Eritreans all over the world."

"For years we've tried from outside Eritrea to inspire the people there and now they are inspiring us," he said. "We think there is for sure a chance that there will be a revolution there soon."

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