Ramallah, 28 July 2013 – This afternoon, the Palestinian Authority (PA) police in Ramallah assaulted dozens of demonstrators who marched in a peaceful demonstration called by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) against the resumption of the Palestinian Authority negotiations, which they described as indicative of a “willingness to concede, against the position of the Palestinian national consensus and even the decisions of the PLO institutions themselves, is deeply dangerous to the Palestinian national cause.”
The demonstration commenced from the Orthodox Club with approximately 200 participants, all waving the Palestinian flag high and calling for the rights of prisoners and against what they called a compromise of a forfeit of Palestinian rights. Before the march reached the Presidential Compound (al-Moqataa), police forces blocked the road, preventing the march from continuing.
Within minutes, police forces began to violently attack the demonstrators, using batons to beat them, and causing dozens of injuries to both male and female participants. Many were taken to the hospital for treatment.
The actions of the police were a deliberate, premeditated attack on peaceful demonstrators that included members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), such as Khalida Jarrar, who also acts as the Chair for the committee on prisoners in the PLC.
According to our research team, once the demonstration dispersed, the police went to Ramallah Hospital to prosecute the injured, and arrested at least three, without allowing them to receive appropriate treatment. One other demonstrator has reportedly been arrested as well.
Addameer considers the police forces’ egregious acts today as an illustration of the continuing political suppression that the PA practices against the Palestinian people despite their right to express their refusal of the PA’s policies.
Today’s demonstration is reminiscent of the rampant violence used by PA police and security forces on 30 June and 1 July 2012 against hundreds of youth protestors who demonstrated against a meeting between Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas and former Israeli minister Shaul Mofaz.
Addameer strongly condemns the attack on the demonstrators and considers it an assault on the Basic Law of Palestine, as well as a violation of the political and civil rights upheld by Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1976 and Articles (18) (19) which affirmed freedom of expression and right to political participation.
In light of these grave violations against demonstrators, Addameer calls for:
1. The Palestinian government and Interior Minister to form an independent investigation committee to hold accountable all those that ordered and implemented the violations and attacks against the demonstrators.
2. The urgent and immediate release of those arrested and detained.
3. Respect of the rights and civil and political freedoms and acceleration of ratification of all international agreements, treaties, and conventions and the International Convention on Civil Rights by the Palestinian Authority.