Dozens of Palestinian journalists held a sit-in strike outside the Ministry of Interior in Ramallah Wednesday to protest mistreatment by Palestinian police the day before while covering a police crackdown on protesters in West Bank cities.
Police viciously attacked journalists covering demonstrators in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron and Nablus who were protesting the Annapolis conference, and detained some after confiscating their cameras.
The journalists met Wednesday with Minister of Interior Abdul Razzak Yehya, who apologized for the police action that resulted in several injuries among journalists. He stressed police had received no orders to prevent the journalists from covering the event.
"I did not give out orders to attack journalists or prevent them from doing their work," he said in response to accusations that the police had orders to attack everyone, including journalists.
Police prevented the journalists from taking pictures and they even attacked some who were standing on the sideline watching from a distance.
The journalists called for the resignation of the minister of information in the Palestinian government for justifying police brutality against the demonstrators and journalists, and demanded guarantees that police would not intervene in their work.
They also protested police preventing journalists from talking to people in the street in Ramallah on Wednesday to gauge their opinion on the Annapolis meeting.
The police claimed Ramallah was a closed military area and told journalists to leave the area.
"I am the one responsible for the security and police action, not the minister of information," said Yehya. "Any action by any police officer is my direct responsibility," he said, telling journalists to go ahead and interview people in the streets.
"I apologize for what happened and for anyone who got hurt," he said, adding that "instructions were clear not to attack not only journalists, but also the people."
Dozens of people were hurt and police detained dozens more after supporters of the Islamic Liberation Party attempted to hold a protest rally against the Annapolis conference.
Yehya said he gave instructions to release all those detained on Tuesday except for a few whom he said the police wanted to question about their role in the riots.
One Palestinian was shot and killed in Hebron in an anti-Annapolis demonstration on Tuesday.
Police attacked participants in the funeral on Wednesday causing several injuries, according to eyewitnesses.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Kasım 2007, 16:35