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EU police trainers concerned by Ramallah violence

July 3, 2012 5:50 P.M. (Updated: July 7, 2012 4:57 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The European Union is concerned by reports that Palestinian police used excessive force against protesters on Saturday and Sunday, an EU security training agency said Tuesday.

A spokesman for EUPOL COPPS, an EU mission that has been training Palestinian police since 2006, told Ma'an the European Union was "concerned" at reports of the use of excessive force.

"In its bilateral dialogue and cooperation with the Palestinian Authority the EU continually stresses the necessity to uphold international human rights standards and respect fundamental freedoms, in particular the right to peaceful protest and demonstration and freedom of expression and the media," Benoit Cusin said.

Police forcefully dispersed a protest against negotiations with Israel in Ramallah on Saturday, and violently suppressed another demonstration against police brutality on Sunday.

Witnesses told the Palestinian Center for Human Rights that the Ramallah police chief al-Bireh Colonel Abdul Latif Qaddoumi and his assistant Mohammed Abu Bakr participated in the use of force against the demonstrators.

Cusin said the EU would continue its training but based on the rule of law.

"As the EU police mission EUPOL COPPS will continue to provide assistance to the Palestinian Civil Police including in the area of public order management, based on the rule of law modern policing techniques," he said.

"The EU welcomes the decision of the Palestinian Authority to establish a committee to investigate the incidents."

The PA Minister of Interior Said Abu Ali said Monday he would form a committee to investigate clashes at the demonstrations.

Cusin said Palestinian police had shown "increased willingness" to tackle the issue of accountability with the help of EUPOL COPPS.

"For example the mission has provided legal support to the draft code of conduct on the use of force and fire arms for all Palestinian Authority security forces," the spokesman said.

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