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The Right to Peaceful Assembly is Enshrined in Palestinian Law, Al Mezan Calls on the Gaza and Ramallah Governments to Facilitate Holding Public Meetings and to Provide Protection to Participants

28-02-2011 00:00

On Monday 28 February 2001, at approximately 9:40pm a small protest tried to take place at the Unknown Soldier Square in Gaza City and attracted heavy police presence.
Police beat Ahmed Al Attawnah, the coordinator of “Nidaa’Watan” (Homeland Appeal) campaign and held him in an unknown location.
At approximately 9:40am about 20 persons gathered at the Unknown Soldier Square in response to an invitation called the “Nidaa’Watan”.
The invitation was out sent via email and mobile text messages (SMS).
The invitation called people to gather at the Unknown Soldier Square in the Gaza Strip.
Protestors held banners that read 'People want to end the internal Palestinian split', 'People want to end the Israeli occupation', and 'Ending the Palestinian internal split is our way to build our homeland'.
According to eyewitnesses, a police officer talked to Al Attawna and a verbal dispute erupted between them.
The police beat Al Attawna and journalists who tried to take photos of what was happening  were threatened by the police.
The protestors dispersed after the attack.
A silver car then came and police officers forced Al Attawna inside it.
The car then drove Al Attawna to a place that was identified by Al Mezan.
According to Hassan Farahat, a protester who was present at the time, Al Attawna sent a letter on 24 February 2011 to the Minister of Interior informing him that a demonstration would take place, but he did not receive a response.
Farahat was summoned by Gaza's internal security apparatus to its office in the Middle Gaza district on 2 March 2011.
Farahat said that a similar protest did not succeed in taking place in the West Bank as the security forces summoned the coordinators beforehand.
Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights views the use of force by the police to disperse a peaceful protest with great concern.
Al Mezan re-asserts that the Palestinian Public Meetings Law No.
12 of 1998 provides protections and arrangements that guarantee citizens’ right to organize public meetings without conditioning them to obtain prior license.
The only procedure required by law when a public meeting is organized is limited to informing - in writing – the Governor or the Chief of the Police of the meeting at least 48 hours in advance.
In case the organizers do not receive a response, also in writing, they automatically have the right to organize the meeting at the planned time and place.
Al Mezan calls on the Gaza Government to investigate this incident, to facilitate holding peaceful meetings, and to provide protection for the meetings by law enforcement officers.

Tags / #peaceful assembly