Anti-PA protests forcibly dispersed in Ramallah
Police in the West Bank violently cracked down on Palestinian protesters gathered in several cities to protest against the Palestinian Authority (PA), following the death of activist Nizar Banat while in custody.
Demonstrators took to the streets to demand the resignation of President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday afternoon, raising banners and chanting slogans in Ramallah, Hebron and several cities across the West Bank.
In Ramallah, the PA’s de facto administrative capital, protesters staging a sit-in were attacked, resulting in several injuries and arrests, including of journalists.
Social media users denounced attacks by plainclothes security services officers, who allegedly beat protesters and took away cameras and phones.
ما يحدث في رام الله الآن بلطجة بمعنى الكلمة، أفراد من الأجهزة الأمنية بلباس مدني يحملون مسدسات ويهجمون على المتظاهرين والصحافيين ويعتدون عليهم.— مجدولين حسونة (@Majdoleen_H) June 26, 2021
محاولات اعتقال، مصادرة معدات وهواتف، ضرب يرقى لمحاولات اغتيال، كل هذا لأننا طالبنا بتطبيق العدالة والكشف عن قتلة #نزار_بنات#نزار_شهيد pic.twitter.com/icVz2mpsCK
The clashes come on the heels of days of unrest following the death of an activist and PA critic who died shortly after security forces stormed his house on Thursday.
The family of Banat said he had been beaten to death, in an incident that sparked outrage from fellow activists, protests in the West Bank city of Ramallah and calls for an inquiry.
He was buried in at Wasaya al-Rasool Mosque in Hebron on Friday. The funeral began with the transfer of Banat’s body to his family home for a final farewell.
The body of Nizar Banat arrivesst mosque #hebron People here furious at the PA- say they live under a double occupation. I asked if we wil see large protests today- many here tell us people are afraid to speak up, they fear will be targeted too. And say there will be no justice. pic.twitter.com/dRPcd6adVR— Stefanie Dekker (@StefanieDekker) June 25, 2021
Nizar Banat had strongly criticised the Palestinian Authority over its alleged corruption and misrule in a series of Facebook videos.
The Palestinian Authority, which administers parts of the West Bank under agreements reached with Israel in the 1990s, faces a major crisis of legitimacy after Abbas called off the first elections in 15 years in April.
Abbas was sidelined during last month's Gaza war and his popularity has plummeted as support for Gaza's militant Hamas rulers has grown.
His forces coordinate security with Israeli troops, targeting Hamas and other armed groups that threaten both. The policy is deeply unpopular with Palestinians, many of whom view it as collaboration with an occupying power.