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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Freedom of expression, PA-style

From Ma'an:
A conference for Palestinians angered by the governmental decision to proceed with direct peace talks was shut down by PA forces in Ramallah on Wednesday, organizers said.

Khaleda Jarrar, a candidate for Ramallah mayor with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine before President Mahmoud Abbas called off the scheduled July elections, told Ma'an that PA police "in civilian uniforms attempted to thwart the event from the start, chanting slogans and leading event participants towards the center of Ramallah."

The event was organized by leftist factions, PFLP, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Palestinian People's Party, as well as several independent politicians. Organizers said the event was set to be held alongside a similar one in Gaza City.

She said the plainclothes officers were trying to provoke participants, who were not intending to leave the conference hall but rather hold a news conference inside, where Jarrar said objectors to the talks would "express or stance against a return to negotiations."

Speaking with Ma'an by phone from Ramallah, Jarrar said she held the PA "completely responsible" for the events of the day. "We aimed to voice our dissent, and the PA decided to enter the conference hall and drag participants out to an unplanned rally" in order to quash it.

A statement from the government-affiliated Watan TV station said network cameramen were assaulted and their equipment confiscated.
of course, the accusers are liars as well, so it is tough to know who to believe.