African migrant protest leaders said Monday they would temporarily halt public protests and a weeklong work strike in light of the death of former prime minister Ariel Sharon, who died Saturday and was laid to rest Monday.
“An Israeli leader has died and we must respect him by relaxing our protest during the Israeli people’s time of mourning,” protest leaders said in a statement.
“This is not a sign of weakness and this is not the end of our struggle,” the statement read. “We will continue to hold community meetings in all of Israel’s cities to update the refugee community on recent developments.”
A women’s rally planned for Wednesday in Tel Aviv will reportedly take place as planned.
The announcement signaled a respite after the previous week saw a series of unprecedented demonstrations from migrants who demand that the state recognize them as refugees with the attendant international rights. Israel has so far refused to do so in all but a few cases.
Thousands of people rallied outside the Knesset, in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square and in front of embassies to appeal for assistance from the international community.
There are currently upwards of 50,000 African migrants in Israel, according to official estimates.
Times of Israel staff and AP contributed to this report.