Chained Palestinian activists reject Abbas election delay, pledging wider protests against PA
Protesters held signs with slogans decrying the delay in the vote - the first one in the Palestinian Territories for over 15 years - and also expressing their support for families in Sheikh Jarrah who have been told they will be evicted from their homes next week.
The protest was led by the United Palestinian Movement List and its head, Khaled Dweikat, who slammed the "excuses" of the Palestinian Authority and what they view as the restrictions on the rights of the Palestinian people.
"Freedoms are suppressed and elections are canceled under the pretext that the occupation is rejecting them in Jerusalem," said Dweikat.
"During the past two days, solidarity with Sheikh Jarrah has increased, and the Palestinian Authority has suppressed the freedom of people, by using Jerusalem as a justification. We want to know what the authority did for Sheikh Jarrah and the displacement of the people there. They say that Jerusalem is an arena for clashes. We see nothing,” he added.
Dweikat said that the demonstration was the first step in wider actions against the PA, pledging to cooperate with other independent electoral lists and organisations to escalate the protests.
On Friday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced that the planned presidential and legislative elections would be postponed until the voting rights of Palestinians living in the Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem could be guaranteed.
The presidential and legislative polls, planned for 22 May and 31 July respectively, would have been the first elections since 2006.
"We decided to postpone the election until there is a guarantee on Jerusalem," said Abbas, referencing Israeli actions that have prevented electoral meetings and the seen the arrest of candidates.
Parallel to Abbas' decision to postpone elections, Israeli authorities have illegally ordered the displacement of 28 families in Sheikh Jarrah to make way for Israeli settlers.
The order has sparked fury among Palestinians, whose protests against the order have been met with violent suppression by Israeli forces.