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Report: PA shut down Tunisia rally in Ramallah

Jan. 20, 2011 7:34 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 22, 2011 10:09 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian Authority security forces in Ramallah shut down a small demonstration in solidarity with the uprising in Tunisia on Wednesday afternoon, the French daily Le Monde reported Thursday.

A few dozen protesters who defied the PA were challenged by a separate gathering of Fatah activists, according to the report.

The Fatah activists were attending a rally in the center of Ramallah -- the capital of the Western-backed Palestinian government -- in support of prisoners in Israel. It was not clear whose demonstration was planned first.

A young demonstrator waving a Tunisian flag was assaulted by PA forces, according to the report.

PA spokesman Ghassan Khatib said the police regretted the incident "if it happened." The police promised to investigate any complaint upon receiving one, Khatib said.

Palestinians announced Wednesday that they would protest in Ramallah, Jerusalem and Jaffa. The protests were to coincide with demonstrations against Tunis' newly declared unity government.

"We invite the police to maintain our safety and freedom of expression," the announcement said.

The uprising in Tunisia has inspired dissent across the Arab world and sparked protests.
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