National Society for Democracy and Law (NSDL) calls for an immediate investigation regarding the crackdown of a peaceful demonstration in Al-Saraya on 19/6/2018.
NSDL condemns a group of plainclothes people for cracking down the citizens while they are practicing their normal right of setting a peaceful sit-in at Al Saraya in Gaza. According to the information NSDL has, hundreds of released prisoners, writers, media activists, muktars and educated people gathered at 11 am on 18/6/2018 to meet the call of the released prisoners of ending the division and lifting the sanctions on Gaza.
When the peaceful sit-in started, dozens of plainclothes people, some of them wearing keffiyehs and white hats, began to chant slogans leading to a scuffle between them and the demonstrators. They were asked to commit with the national slogans that enhance the national unity and serve the country.
The plainclothes people started to fight with the peaceful demonstrators throwing them with stones and shoes, cracking the stage and violating the activists; not to mention that they did not let them film the violations. One of the released prisoners and organizers of the peaceful sit-in, Rami Azara said" the demonstration is completely national and we have had a permission from the secretary services to organize it. Yet, we have been shocked by some plainclothes people, some of them armed and others with radios, cracking down the sit-in and starting to chant slogans that are completely different from the ones we have agreed on. The thing which leads to a fight between the demonstrators" Mr. Azara added that he was violated and injured in the head area. Many others were injured too in different areas of their bodies.
It is worth mentioning that the chairman of the National Society for Democracy and Law, Dr. Ibrahim Muammar, was assaulted by the abusers while he was practicing his normal right of participating in the peaceful sit-in and documenting the violations. He was asked to stop filming what was happening and delete the videos. When he refused to do so, they brought sticks and batons to beat him. He quickly ran to other group of people to avoid being beaten, yet he was shocked that the other group were belonging to them. Thus, he got cornered by all of them. He told them that he was a human right activist and the chairman of an NGO organization and he expressed his right of documenting any kind of human rights violation. Yet, they got further with their verbal offense and took his smart phone.
NSDL is greatly worried about human rights violations among which the right to peaceful assembly. According to the article 20 of the universal declaration of human rights, everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. And according to the article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights, the right to peaceful assembly shall be recognized. The article 24 of the Arab Charter of Human Rights goes on the right to peaceful assembly and the right to practice any other peaceful political activity. The right to organize meetings without the presence of the police members is also guaranteed by the Palestinian basic law.
Just as article 12, year 1998 has mentioned concerning public meetings, citizens have the right to hold public meetings and demonstrations freely and there cannot be any restrictions on them in case they are organized legally. Thus, NSDL condemns the practiced violations and considers what has happened as an aggravated assault against citizens. It confirms that the secretary devices should protect the protestors and ensure their safety. NSDL calls for forming a national and legal committee to investigate in the issue and emphasizes that violators must be punished.