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UN official urges Palestinian security forces to allow protests

Palestinian security officers in plainclothes detain a demonstrator during clashes that erupted following a rally protesting the death of outspoken PA critic Nizar Banat, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on Saturday, June 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)
Palestinian security officers in plainclothes detain a demonstrator during clashes that erupted following a rally protesting the death of outspoken PA critic Nizar Banat, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on Saturday, June 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

The UN human rights chief urges the Palestinian Authority to ensure the safety of protesters, after security forces and supporters of PA President Mahmoud Abbas attacked demonstrators over the weekend.

The protests erupted after an outspoken critic of the PA died shortly after his family says he was severely beaten by security forces who arrested him.

Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, says Palestinian security forces used force against initially peaceful protesters, “including beating them with batons and firing teargas and stun grenades.”

The statement says she was concerned about “the presence of large numbers of non-uniformed people acting in a seemingly organized and coordinated manner” with the Palestinian forces.

“During one of these protests, one of our staff members monitoring it was punched and pepper-sprayed by a person in civilian clothing,” Bachelet says. “Many people, including journalists and human rights defenders, were similarly assaulted.”

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