Friday, May 16, 2008

Israeli Police Violence Against Arab Protesters and Journalists in Safuriya

On May 8, the Palestinian Arab community in Israel marched into the destroyed village of Safuriyya ahead of the Nakba commemoration ceremonies to affirm the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

Although the march went on without interference, as it drew to a close police began using force on the protesters and journalists, including two journalists from CNN and Al-Arabiya. Please see the following video from al-Arz Productions telling the story.

Haaretz reports that Palestinians instigated the clashes by throwing rocks at the police, however there are counter reports based on first hand accounts that this was because of police violently shoving peaceful protesters. Furthermore, how did that justify in any way the brutal beatings, arrests and the firing of tear gas on innocent bystanders (including children) and journalists? Arab MKs Wasel Taha and Mohammad Barakeh were also assaulted by the police. This is the first protest in my recent memory where the cops have used force on peaceful protesters.

May 16 Update: Jonathan Cook, who was at the demo, has written about it on Electronic Intifada - 'The Nakba March'.

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