Israeli police assault, arrest over 20 pro-Gaza demonstrators in Haifa

Israeli police assault, arrest over 20 pro-Gaza demonstrators in Haifa
Rights groups have slammed 'unprecedented' violence used by Israeli police that hospitalised several pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Haifa.
2 min read
20 May, 2018
Scores of riot police dispersed peaceful demonstrators using 'unprecedented' levels of violence [Twitter]

Palestinian activists from Haifa who took part in demonstrations in solidarity with Gaza in the wake of Monday's mass killings, said on Friday that Israeli police arrested over 20 peaceful protestors, several of whom were hospitalised from injuries inflicted by security officers.

Demonstrators said those arrested were thrown into police vehicles where they continued to be beaten by officers. Among those arrested and assaulted were poet and journalist Ali Mawasy and activist Jafar Farah, director of the Mossawa human rights organisation.

Witnesses told The New Arab that Farah had his leg broken as a result of the beatings, while he reportedly tried to stop the police from attacking his son, who had also been arrested.

A total of 21 people were arrested, and their detention was extended until Sunday, according to the Adalah Centre, which promotes the rights of Israel's Arab minority.

Adalah's statement added that the police violence used against demonstrators was unprecedented. 

"Twenty-one people were arrested illegally, despite the peaceful nature of the demonstrations," noting protestors were kettled by riot police and prevented from leaving for over two hours.

Adalah added that four of those arrested were subsequently transferred to hospitals in Haifa for treatment for their injuries. Israeli police also tried to prevent lawyers from entering prison to meet with the detained demonstrators, it said.

Hundreds of people took part in the demonstrations in solidarity with Gaza on Friday, condemning the killing of over 60 Gazan protestors killed by Israeli forces on Monday.

Witnesses from the Haifa demonstrations reported that plainclothed Israeli police were marching among the demonstrators and selectively targeted certain activists taking part.