Palestinian authority shuts down Hizb ut-Tahrir rallies
Pacifist Islamist group Hizb Ut-Tahrir on Saturday said Palestinian Authority security forces shut down mass rallies across the West Bank.
Hizb Ut-Tahrir organized rallies in six cities to mark the 90th anniversary of the fall of the last caliphate.
The party, which promotes the re-establishment of an Islamic Caliphate in the Middle East, accused the PA of turning Ramallah into a military post. In a statement, the group said over 100 affiliates were detained at checkpoints installed on the outskirts of several cities.
Hizb Ut-Tahrir said PA security forces were deployed in Ramallah city center to stop the rally, while officers fired shots in the air at the southern entrance to the city “to intimidate the marchers,” who were carrying flags and chanting slogans.
Meanwhile clashes erupted between party members and PA forces in Hebron city center. Hizb Ut-Tahrir said security forces stopped supporters marching from a mosque to Bab Al-Zawiye. Many party affiliates were hurt and some were arrested, Hizb Ut-Tahrir said.
In the northern West Bank, local sources told Ma’an that PA forces arrested more than 30 Hizb Ut-Tahrir supporters in Nablus, and dozens in Tulkarem.
In Qalqiliya, PA forces dispersed a party rally because organizers did not have permits. Hizb Ut-Tahrir officials said many supporters were hospitalized, including elderly leader Bassam Ad-Daour.
Hizb Ut-Tahrir said there was a “state of confusion” in the PA’s response, and that the government had allowed the rallies while sources inside the PA prevented them.
PA security spokesman Adnan Ad-Dmeiri told Ma’an that forces did not open fire at any rallies, but said the demonstrations were “chaotic and violated law in some cities.”
Ad-Dmeiri said Hizb Ut-Tahrir’s “slander” of government forces was in line with the party’s “refusal to recognize the Palestinian Authority, or its flag, anthem or law.”
He added that the group created security chaos “under the pretext of their right to expression.”
“They do not recognize any of the contents of the Palestinian political system and they want to use all that is granted under the Palestinian law guaranteeing freedom of expression to achieve chaos.”
Hizb Ut-Tahrir spokesman Maher Al-Jabari told Ma’an that PA officers used excessive force against party members, adding that some protesters were hospitalized.
“The security forces prevented us from carrying out the rally in Ramallah on the 90th anniversary of the collapse of the Muslim Caliphate. We surprised them by carrying out six rallies in the West Bank cities.”