Hundreds protest negotiations in Ramallah

Maan News Agency | July 3, 2012

Hundreds of Palestinians protest in Ramallah on July 3.
(MaanImages/Firas Taneineh)

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Hundreds of protesters demonstrated in Ramallah on Tuesday calling on the Palestinian Authority not to negotiate with Israel.

Protesters gathered in Manara square, chanting “The people want to bring down Oslo,” referring to the 1993 agreement that established the PA as a 5-year interim administration to govern until a final treaty was reached.

Demonstrators headed to President Mahmoud Abbas’ headquarters, the Muqata, carrying Palestinian flags and denouncing talks with Israeli vice premier Shaul Mofaz.

Abbas had been scheduled to meet Mofaz in Ramallah, sparking protests on Saturday, but the meeting was canceled.

Palestinian police violently shut down Saturday’s protest, leading to a second protest Sunday against police brutality, which police also violently suppressed.

Tuesday’s protest ended peacefully. Security forces in civilian clothes took photos of protesters and police and presidential guards were stationed at the Muqata but forces did not intervene in the demonstration.

A government source told Reuters that police were under orders on Tuesday to allow the protesters to take their message to the gleaming stone walls of Abbas’s compound, which is also the burial place of previous president, Yasser Arafat.

“The streets are open to us today, and that’s the result of a political decision. They realize the violence before made them look bad,” said Ali Nakhle, a student who joined approximately 400 other, mainly youthful protesters in downtown Ramallah.

Activists demand accountability

As well as demanding an end to negotiations with Israel, activists also called on the PA to end its security coordination with Israel which was established in the Oslo Accords.

In a statement, the Palestinians for Dignity group which participated in the protests called for a new strategy of resistance to achieve Palestinian independence.

The group also demanded the formation of an independent committee to hold security forces accountable for attacks on protesters over the weekend.

“We remind the Palestinian Authority that we still toil under the yoke of Israeli occupation, and that it is unacceptable under any circumstance to brutally repress the rights of people at a time when we are facing Israeli aggression all around us,” the group said.

“We call upon the Palestinian Authority to return to the masses and to arm itself with the power of its people for the people are its source of strength and legitimacy.”

The PA cabinet, meanwhile, reaffirmed its commitment to protecting freedom of opinion and expression in accordance with the law, ministers said after a meeting Tuesday.

In a statement, the cabinet noted that PA Minister of Interior Said Abu Ali said Monday he would form a committee to investigate the violence at the demonstrations.

The cabinet said it would also submit its recommendations to ensure such events are not repeated, and hold responsible those found to have violated the law.

“This comes to reaffirm the continued unity of our people,” the statement said.

 

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