Palestinian police break up anti-Annapolis rally in West Bank

Palestinian police used batons and made arrests on Tuesday to break up a protest against the Middle East peace conference in the West Bank town of Ramallah that defied a ban on demonstrations.

Palestinian police break up anti-Annapolis rally in West Bank
After scuffling with protestors for several hours, dozens of Palestinian law enforcement officers rushed into Al Manara Square, beating the demonstrators and hauling them away, said reporters on the scene.

It was not immediately clear how many were detained, though security sources said most of the people were held only briefly.

By mid-afternoon, Palestinian security forces were ringing the square and all would-be demonstrators had been chased away.

The approximately 200 protestors—waving Palestinian flags and chanting 'From our soil and our blood for Palestine!'—had initially refused to disperse, scuffling with police who tried to seize their placards.

Several rallies had been planned in Al Manara on Tuesday, just hours before the US peace conference was due to open at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, near Washington.

One protest was planned to demand a halt to illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and the other was to urge the US meeting not to forget the thousands of Palestinian prisoners still held in Israeli jails.

The Islamist party Hezb Al Tahrir planned another rally for later Tuesday, but it was unclear whether it would take place. Party officials said around 30 of its members in Bethlehem were arrested overnight by Palestinian security.

On Monday, president Mahmud Abbas's government banned rallies against the Annapolis meeting, with information minister Riyad Al Malki saying the decision was taken because 'we look forward to the Annapolis meeting being successful.'


Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Kasım 2007, 14:03