Tel Aviv: More than 140 injured in clashes between Eritrean asylum seekers and Israeli police

More than 140 people have been wounded in clashes between Eritrean asylum seekers and Israeli police in Tel Aviv.

The violence broke out near the Eritrean embassy when protesters were stopped from reaching the building ahead of a cultural event set to take place there.

Demonstrators smashed cars and windows of local businesses and police used tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets to push the crowds back. Live rounds were also fired in the air by police.

The demonstrators entered the hall where the embassy event was due to take place and vandalised it.

Local emergency services say at least 30 of the wounded are police officers, while a hospital in Tel Aviv reported 11 people were being treated for gunshot wounds.

The fighting resumed later in the day when supporters and opponents of the Eritrean regime clashed.

Tel Aviv police urged local residents to stay away from the area while they worked to restore calm.

By mid-afternoon on Saturday the situation was said to be under control.

Although police deployed large numbers of police ahead of the march, they admitted being surprised by the size of the protest.

Similar events held by the Eritrean community around the world in recent weeks have also resulted in violence.

Protesters say they had urged police to cancel the diplomatic event because of recent such incidents.

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There are an estimated 18,000 Eritreans in Israel, and they are considered asylum seekers by the government because of the dictatorship back home.

But many live in poor conditions and face a constant threat of deportation.

A small percentage of the asylum seekers are thought to be supporters of the regime.