Sunday, July 01, 2012

PA police beat anti-peace protesters

For the second day, there were protests in Ramallah against the very thought of Mahmoud Abbas meeting with a Jewish Israeli leader to discuss re-starting peace talks.

And just like yesterday, the PA police turned violent:

Palestinian protesters said security forces used brutal force Sunday during the second demonstration in as many days protesting Palestinian Authority policy.

Police attacked protesters with batons, beating and injuring at least seven people. Another seven protesters were taken to a police station along with at least two journalists, a Ma'an correspondent said.

Protesters shouted against police brutality, and the police responded by beating them. Journalists were also attacked for the second day in a row, the correspondent reported.

The reporter said Reuters photographer Saed al-Hawari was attacked and photographer Ahmad Musleh was arrested. A camera belonging to journalist Ahmad Ouda was confiscated.

Another Palestinian journalist told Ma'an that a police officer tried to hit his camera, and when he defended himself, grabbed him by the neck. While the police officer was removed by colleagues, he warned the journalist: "I will see you another day."

"It was more crazy than yesterday, you can't imagine -- they hit girls and were laughing like they don't care about Palestinians," the journalist said.

Near the headquarters of President Mahmoud Abbas, meanwhile, a violent clash broke out as police tried to prevent protesters from crossing a line of security forces, the correspondent reported.

A spokesman for the Palestinian security services said 10 people were hospitalized, and several arrested, without providing the number of detentions.

Adnan Dmeiri said fighting only broke out when protesters tried to reach the presidential headquarters, which police are required to stop as protesting there is forbidden.

He said police were investigating who was behind the protest, saying the "agendas of those unknown movements are to create chaos and harm security and attack Palestinian police."
Here's video of the clashes:

Tweeters are quick to blame - America! They are pointing out that the PA security forces were trained by the US. To them, Abbas is an American/Zionist stooge.

Keep in mind that the protest was originally against even discussing restarting peace talks with Israel before it grew into an anti-police violence protest. These are not Hamas fanatics, but the "liberal secular Arabs" that the West loves to love.

There has never been a Palestinian Arab anti-terrorism rally like this. Or a Palestinian equivalent of "Peace Now" rally.

If this is the start of a "Palestinian spring" - and it very well may be, because of the ham-handedness of the PA police - you can expect the trajectory to be much like Egypt's.  The ultimate winner would be the Islamists who are staying on the sidelines, waiting for an opportunity to swoop in, expand the protests and ultimately co-opt them.