Palestinian police violently suppress public demonstration

Monday, July 02, 2012 |  Ryan Jones

Palestinian Authority police forces violently suppressed a public demonstration in the de facto Palestinian capital of Ramallah on Sunday, according to Palestinian media.

Demonstrators cited by the Bethlehem-based Ma'an news agency said police brutally attacked them during a protest against the polices of the Palestinian leadership.

Among the victims were several local journalists working for Reuters and other international news agencies. One news photographer was arrested, and another reportedly had his camera confiscated.

An unnamed journalist told Ma'an, "They hit girls and were laughing like they don't care about Palestinians."

The demonstration was apparently in response to another demonstration held the previous day, during which police also used what seemed to be unnecessary force. That first demonstration had been held to protest the Palestinian Authority's announcement that Israeli Vice Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz would soon visit Ramallah in an effort to restart peace talks.

Palestinian police officials said the use of force was completely justified because the demonstrators had "violated" officers by yelling at them and had marched too close to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' headquarters.

Despite the presence of reporters, international media coverage of the incidents was almost non-existent. That is very telling, considering that were Israeli forces to use similar tactics to quell demonstrations, be they led by Palestinian or Israelis, it would be universally condemned for exercising "disproportionate force." In fact, that is often the case when Palestinian and radical left-wing Israelis hold weekly violent demonstrations against Israel's security fence.

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