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Palestinian Authority 'brutally suppresses' West Bank pro-Hamas rallies Open in fullscreen

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Palestinian Authority 'brutally suppresses' West Bank pro-Hamas rallies

Palestinian Authority security forces brutally cracked down on Hamas rallies across the West Bank. [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 December, 2018

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Palestinian Authority security forces have long been accused by human rights groups of using excessive force against non-violent protests.

Palestinian Authority security forces brutally suppressed Hamas rallies across the occupied West Bank on Friday, with footage on social media showing demonstrators being violently assaulted.

Demonstrations had been called throughout the West Bank on Friday to mark the 31st anniversary since the founding of Hamas.

Hamas quickly condemned the crackdown. In a statement received by The New Arab, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said "this brutal assault is evidence of [The PA's] disregard for the lives of the martyrs and the people of the West Bank..."as they protest the policies of Israeli occupation and crimes". 

Protesters condemned overnight arrest raids in which dozens of Hamas members were detained by Israeli forces following a manhunt for the perpetrators of a deadly attack on Thursday against Israeli soldiers.

In the southern West Bank city of Hebron, PA security forces prevented Hamas supporters from holding a public rally near a mosque, deploying in large numbers and confiscating posters.

Several arrests were reported.

Video footage on social media showed PA forces brutally assaulting protesters with batons while dispersing the rally.

"Palestinian security forces have beaten us, without distinguishing between men and women," one protester at the Hebron rally told Ma'an News Agency.

Similar rallies were reported in Nablus, in the northern West Bank.

Palestinian Authority security forces have long been accused by human rights groups of using excessive force at non-violent protests.

In October, Human Rights Watch accused both the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority and Gaza rulers Hamas of routinely "arresting and torturing" critics.

The PA's security budget forms nearly one third of its total budget.

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