An estimated 35,000-strong African migrants, mostly Eritreans and Sudanese, have continued to march through the streets of Tel Aviv since Sunday, January 05, 2014 calling on Israel to recognise their status as refugees and not economic migrants. On Wednesday, a fleet of over 35 buses transported the protesters to Jerusalem as they took their fight to the seat of the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset. The refugees called on Israel to respect their rights to political asylum in accordance to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention. The protests come in the wake of Israel's attempts to detain the refugees and eventually deport them back to their countries of origin in violation of their human rights.

While the pleas of the refugees fell on deaf ears, three members of the Knesset, however, did address the protesters in a speech of solidarity they gave outside the Parliament buildings. Prominent Israeli author David Grossman, quoting one of the country's websites, hinted that President Shimon Peres said Israel would honor the 1951 UN Refugee Convention. Various inside sources seem to however indicate that opinions within the Parliament are still divided on the matter.

Security forces mandated with overseeing the rallies have said the protests have so far been peaceful in nature. The protests that had entered their fifth consecutive day on Friday have been coordinated by Eritreans seeking justice in collaboration with Sudanese migrants and Israeli human rights organisations.

Israel has refused to recognize the refugees as political asylum seekers. The government has labelled them as economic migrants, therefore denying them the right to protection from persecution and giving them an ultimatum to either accept deportation or face detention indefinitely.

Meanwhile, some Israeli vigilantes are taking matters into their own hands and committing crimes against the migrants. Cutting all water and electric power supply to the residencies of the migrants is one of the ploys being used. A five-storey building inhabited by refugees has had its supplies cut off by the landlord in retaliation to the ongoing protests. Biniam, an Eritrean man who lives in the building, said the matter had been reported to the town hall and the police. He added the officials were not forthcoming in assisting the migrants with the issue.