Twenty-one Palestinian Israelis were arrested Friday night in the historically Palestinian city of Haifa, north of Tel Aviv, during demonstrations protesting the killing of Gazans, which has reached over 100 between March 30 and May 15.
Protesters gathered in the city’s commercial area and held Palestinian flags, which is not illegal, but did serve as sufficient cause for Israeli police to claim protesters were disturbing the peace and inciting to violence.
According to the organizers, they decided to hold the protests without a permit and advertised it through social media but only revealed the exact location 2 hours before prior.
According to Israeli newspaper among the protesters were members of the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, and activists such as Jafar Farah of the Mossawa Advocacy Center For Arab Citizens In Israel.
There are reports that police broke Farah’s leg after beating him. Organizers say Farah was being treated at Bnai Zion Medical Center for a fractured knee sustained during his questioning overnight.
Chairman of the Joint List, a coalition of Arab-dominated political parties in Israel, Ayman Odeh, told Haaretz "police forces brutally oppressed the protest without any explanation… I am full of appreciation for the protesters tonight and the immense sacrifice of the detainees. No police brutality will succeed in silencing us."
Knesset member for the Joint List Aida Touma-Suleiman also gave testimony of aggression and rights violation by Israeli police.
“The violence exerted on protesters was unchecked. Interrogators continued to beat up the detainees after they were arrested without any explanation or justification… All this happened while they postponed the detainees' meeting with a lawyer and withheld medical care from them," she explained.
On May 14 Palestinians held a similar protest in Haifa. One of the activists arrested that time was interrogated and sent home for a three day house arrest.
Despite attempts to intimidate protesters, more demonstrations are planned for Saturday.