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Protesters challenge Mayor of Jerusalem over police violence in Palestinian district

20 5 0

Last Saturday night, nearly 200 Palestinian and Jewish-Israeli activists took part in a demonstration in front of Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon’s home in the upscale West Jerusalem neighbourhood of Rehavia. The protesters were demanding the mayor to take action in the face of ongoing police violence in the East Jerusalem district of Issawiya.

“We called on him to take responsibility for what’s been happening in Issawiya and to ensure the safety of the entire village,” explained Shahaf Weinstein, the lead organiser of Saturday night’s protest. “He is also their mayor, whether he likes it or not.”

Over the past six months, Issawiya has been the scene of extensive police brutality. The police harass the neighbourhood daily, and also conduct indiscriminate night raids. According to last month’s report by Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem, this involves police officers in the “detaining of residents returning from work, issuing of traffic tickets for spurious infractions, serving of house demolition orders, acts of violence, and detentions – particularly of minors.”

Twenty-one-year old Muhammad ‘Abeid was killed during one of the raids in July. Nearly 350 arrests were made between June and August, resulting in just five indictments.

READ: Jerusalemites protest against continuous Israel ‘aggression’

Despite being religious and right-wing, the first-time mayor ran on a platform of being “everybody’s mayor”, Weinstein pointed out. Many of the protesters on Saturday night focused on this, emphasising that Leon must also represent Palestinian residents of Jerusalem.

The protest was organised by left-wing Jewish-Israeli groups Free Jerusalem........

© Middle East Monitor