Tuesday, March 28, 2023

    Thousands protest against Palestinian Authority in Ramallah amid anger over critic’s death

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    Palestinian security forces have clashed with thousands of people in the occupied West Bank protesting the death of an outspoken critic of President Mahmoud Abbas in custody.

    The Palestinian Authority deployed security forces to confront the angry protesters, who had taken to the streets of Ramallah.

    The demonstrators called for the resignation of Abbas and charged his administration with killing Nizar Banat as they carried Palestinian flags and signs demanding “the fall of the regime”.

    “We want a Palestine that protects the rights of its people. Our right to protest is a guaranteed right, our right to live is also guaranteed, the right to have public security is also in the constitution,” Tala Shbita, a protester, said.

    Palestinian officers, some wearing riot gear clashed with the protesters. There were no official figures on how many people were arrested or injured.

    Witnesses said the officers fired tear gas into the crowd, and used clubs to hit unarmed demonstrators and several journalists.

    Protests were also held in the southern West Bank city of al-Khalil south of al-Quds, and al-Bireh city in the central West Bank.

    Banat died on Thursday in custody.

    Palestinian Authority forces broke into a relative’s house, where he was staying in the early hours of Thursday and hit him repeatedly with a metal rod before arresting him, according to Banat’s family.

    The family has accused Palestinian Authority security forces of killing Banat after beating him and taking him away while he was semi-conscious.

    In videos he had posted on social media, Banat had repeatedly criticized the Palestinian Authority for corruption and its security coordination with the Israeli military in the West Bank.

    He had also blasted Abbas over a short-lived COVID-19 vaccine exchange with the Israeli regime earlier this month, and slammed his decision to postpone a long-delayed Palestinian election in May, for which he had registered as a parliamentary candidate.

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