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PA forces assault activists at demonstration in support of prisoner hunger strike

May 15, 2017 4:58 P.M. (Updated: May 15, 2017 6:31 P.M.)
TULKAREM (Ma’an) -- After local activists in Anabta in the northern occupied West Bank district of Tulkarem blockaded the main street of the village on Monday, activists clashed with Palestinian forces who arrived several minutes later to reopen the road, leaving a number of the activists bruised and suffering from tear gas inhalation.

The activists had blockaded the road with trucks, large rocks, and rubber tires as an act of protest in solidarity with hundreds of Palestinian prisoners who entered their 29th day on hunger strike on Monday, as Palestinians also commemorated the 69th anniversary of the Nakba.

A group of activists also blocked off commuter roads leading to the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah for the past two days for the same reason.

Locals sources said that several activists in Anabta were left badly bruised after being assaulted by Palestinian security forces. The Palestinian Red Crescent told Ma’an three people were also treated for tear gas inhalation at the scene.

A Palestinians security official defended the crackdown, saying that the inconvenience to commuters “required immediate intervention by security forces who attempted to reopen the street.”

The road, the official said, “is one of the most important streets in the Tulkarem district, as it connects Nablus to Ramallah. Keeping it closed will obstruct people’s lives.”

The official added that “the attempts to prevent officers from opening the road to disputes.”

Separately, group of Palestinian youth also closed the main street in the town of Huwwara south of Nablus city around noon time Monday following a sit-in to support Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike.

The activists formed a human chain for almost a half an hour, until they were forcibly dispersed by Israeli forces.

Daily protests across the occupied Palestinian territory have been staged daily in solidarity with prisoners who are calling for an end to solitary confinement, medical negligence, the denial of family and lawyer visitations, and internment without charge or trial under administrative detention.

Meanwhile, pressure has been mounting on the Palestinian Authority to take meaningful action to support the Palestinian prisoners, amid the government's growing unpopularity, evidenced by lower voter turnout rates in local elections on Saturday.
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