Israel has been rocked by widespread demonstrations decrying the fatal shooting of an Ethiopian-Israeli teenager at the hands of an off-duty police officer.
Protests erupted after Solomon Teka, 18, who was unarmed, was shot by the cop Sunday in a suburb of the northern Israeli city of Haifa — and escalated after his funeral Tuesday.
About two dozen activists have been arrested at various locations across the country for hurling stones and carrying gasoline bombs.
Demonstrators attacked police and vandalized vehicles in response to what they consider ongoing police brutality and complaints by Ethiopian-Israelis over racism in the country.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has urged calm and convened a ministerial committee to discuss “all issues” affecting the Ethiopian community, which suffers from poverty and neglect.
“We will discuss all issues but we will also discuss something that is unacceptable,” he said. “We are not prepared to either accept or tolerate the blocking of roads and the use of violence, including firebombs against our forces, the burning of cars or any other property of citizens.”
A lawyer for the officer who fired the fatal shot insists that his client acted in self-defense, according to the Times of Israel.
Attorney Yair Nedashi said the cop was with his family when an altercation broke out between two groups of youths, including Teka, putting the officer and his relatives in danger.
“If he had not acted how he did, it’s possible my client would be dead and his family would be harmed,” Nedashi said, according to the news outlet.
“Enough with the lies and the threats. Let the authorities finish their investigation,” added the lawyer, who described the allegations against the officer as a “witch hunt.”
Nedashi said the officer, who has not been named and was placed under house arrest, is in hiding with his family.