By Sally Shakkour
Peaceful protests erupted in the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, on June 26, 2021, to denounce the death of the famous PA critic and human rights activist Nizar Banat, who was killed while in custody of Palestinian Authority security forces and calling the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to resign.
Plain-clothed Palestinian security officers have blocked the demonstrators' road and attacked them with aim to disperse the protests.
المسيرة الكبيرة التي خرجت وسط رام الله عصر اليوم للتنديد باغتيال الناشط نزار بنات قبل قمعها من قبل قوات أمن السلطة pic.twitter.com/8rzFRllMcr— المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام (@PalinfoAr) June 26, 2021
Hundreds of protesters have gathered in Ramallah, the headquarter of the PA, carrying signs reading in Arabic ‘leave’ aimed at president Abbas two days after the death of the prominent critic who is famous for his videos criticizing the PA and its corruption. Bannat’s latest video was about the suspicious expired vaccine deal with Israel.
Angry rallies continued widely as protesters chanted “The people want to overthrow the regime,” and “step down, Abbas!”.
The protests turned violent quickly with loads of videos being shared on the internet. The Palestinian security forces were even seen attacking press workers. A video of journalist Najlaa Zeitoun being attacked with a wooden stick by forces in civilian clothes in Ramallah’s protest was widely denounced.
The moment a plainclothes thug from the Palestinian Authority forces attacks journalist Najlaa Zeitoun with a wooden stick in today’s Ramallah protest https://t.co/qgAHys0T9a— لينة (@LinahAlsaafin) June 26, 2021
Burning glasses were thrown at a Palestinian police station in Bethlehem south of Jerusalem amid to set a security alert in the area.
Nizar Banat’s daughter was seen chanting amongst the protesters in Khalil. According to the critic’s family, the PA security forces arrested Banat and beat him on the head with batons and metal rods. Hours after being jailed the human rights activist was announced dead; which triggered a huge wave of criticism blaming the Palestinian Authority for assassinating him.
According to the PA scenario, Nizar Banat’s health deteriorated hours after being arrested and although he was transferred to the hospital, he was already dead. The PA has denied its relation to the incident; claiming it will open a full investigation and hire a special investigation committee into the critic’s death.
A tragedy for Palestine. Nizar Banat, a leading critic of the Palestinian Authority, a candidate for the legislative council, and a loving father was arrested by the PA security forces this AM, and was later announced dead at the Hebron Hospital. 1/4 pic.twitter.com/UiC1lPdFRb— Fadi Quran (@fadiquran) June 24, 2021
Furthermore, former detainee Sheikh Mufid Zalloum was seen bare-chested in the frontline against clashes between security forces and Palestinian protesters. His brother has been jailed in the occupation’s prison since 1989.
Do you know who this man stood in the face of the arrogance of Palestinian security today??— Mohamed Farag (@Mohamed91816926) June 26, 2021
Sheikh Mufid Zalloum, the liberated prisoner, the nice gentleman, the kind and beautiful gentleman.. the brother of the prisoner, Nidal Zalloum, who was pic.twitter.com/vXJeV4XnYT
The 43-year-old Nizar Banat was arrested on June 24th. Thousands of mourners participated in his funeral one day after being jailed by Palestinian security forces; the incident which sparked outrage across the occupied West Bank.
The prominent’s death has highlighted the Palestinian Authority’s long-lasting crackdown on activists and especially after canceling the first scheduled legislative and presidential elections in 15 years which was supposed to take place 22 May 2021.
Mahmoud Abbas has been in power since 15 January 2005, and State of Palestine president since 8 May 2005. Abbas is also a member of the Fatah party and was elected chairman in 2009.
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