Palestinians rally in support of prisoners held by Israel
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Palestinians rally in support of prisoners held by Israel

Thousands hold protests in West Bank, Gaza on Prisoners' Day, demanding release of Palestinians held for terror-related offenses

Palestinians hold portraits of relatives jailed in Israeli prisons as they protest to demand for their release during a demonstration to mark the Prisoners' Day in the northern West Bank city of Nablus on April 17, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / JAAFAR ASHTIYEH)
Palestinians hold portraits of relatives jailed in Israeli prisons as they protest to demand for their release during a demonstration to mark the Prisoners' Day in the northern West Bank city of Nablus on April 17, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / JAAFAR ASHTIYEH)

Several thousand Palestinians protested in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Tuesday to mark an annual day in support of Palestinians jailed by Israel.

A few thousand gathered in the Gaza Strip, while there were smaller demonstrations across the West Bank as Palestinians marked Prisoners’ Day.

Around 6,500 Palestinians are currently in Israeli prisons for a range of offenses and crimes, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club. Of those, around 500 are detained under so-called administrative detention laws, it said.

The thousands of prisoners are held for nationalistic offenses including various terror-related crimes.

Administrative detention allows Israel to detain people without charge or trial for renewable six-month periods.

Israel says the use of administrative detention is intended to allow authorities to hold dangerous suspects while continuing to gather evidence, in order to prevent attacks in the meantime.

Palestinians take part in a demonstration in support of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, in Gaza City, on April 17, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMS)

But it has been criticized by Palestinians, human rights groups, and members of the international community who claim Israel abuses the policy. Far-right Israeli activists have also complained about the policy’s use against them.

The prisoners’ club also claimed around one million Palestinians have been detained by Israel since the nation was founded in 1948.

Dozens of girls carrying photographs of women prisoners demonstrated on Tuesday outside the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross, west of Gaza City.

In Nablus in the northern West Bank, around 1,000 people gathered, while a few hundred demonstrated in Bethlehem and Ramallah.

There were no reports of major clashes.

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