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Ramallah protesters clash with police over security coordination

Demonstrators gathered in protest over coordination between Israeli and Palestinian forces, a highly controversial issue for many Palestinians
Palestinian Authority forces clash with demonstrators outside the Ramallah court (MEE / Elia Ghorbiah)

A demonstration against the trial of a prominent anti-occupation figure who was killed by Israeli forces this week turned violent in the West Bank capital of Ramallah on Sunday morning, with dozens of people reported injured.

Palestinian Authority security forces used batons, sound and gas bombs and tasers to break up a demonstration against the trial of Basil al-Araj, who was killed during an Israeli raid in the West Bank earlier in the week.

Araj was one of six Palestinians arrested by PA forces in April 2016, accused of carrying unlicensed weapons to carry out attacks on Israelis.

He and the five other men had been waiting to face trial when Araj was killed.

A court in Ramallah said on Sunday that charges against Araj had been "terminated" due to his death, but the five others, who are being held in Israeli prisons, will be tried on 30 April in a postponed hearing.

Demonstrators gathered on Sunday morning outside the court that issued the decision, following a hearing at which all of the accused were not present. 

Araj's father was among those taken to hospital following Sunday's clashes, along with lawyer Farid al-Atrash and a number of journalists who were covering the demonstration.

Local television channel Palestine Today said its equipment had been smashed, although no details were given.

Four people were arrested, including Khader Adnan, a leader of the group Islamic Jihad who has been imprisoned by Israel on ten separate occasions.

There have been no reports of injures among members of the PA security forces.

Security coordination between Israeli forces and the PA is a highly controversial issue for many in the West Bank, and demonstrators chanted slogans calling for an end to the practice.

Protesters held up signs calling the PA forces "spies" and criticising the authority for "handing over" Palestinian suspects to Israel to face trial.

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