Palestinian security forces shut down a demonstration Jan. 30 in front of the Egyptian embassy in Ramallah, after calling in one of the organizers for questioning a day earlier, organizers of the rally said. A police commander said the demonstrators were in a “security area” and would have to disperse. Some 20 armed officers cleared the area, ordered journalists to turn off their cameras and microphones, and dragged one protester away when he shouted, “Long live Egypt!”
The Palestinian Authority banned a similar demonstration in solidarity with the uprising in Tunisia last week. Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian activist and organizer, told Ma’an News Agency that the “heavy-handed suppression” of the protest indicates where the PA’s loyalty lies.
“Autocratic, unelected regimes tend to identify with one another, it seems. The glaring difference here, in the occupied Palestinian territory, is that the PA is trying to ‘rule’ by decree while we are still under foreign occupation,” Barghouti said. “After Tunis, there is no telling when the next Arab dictator will fall. One, Ben-Ali, is gone; 21 remain.” (Ma’an News Agency, Jan. 31)