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Palestinian security set up checkpoints to stop teachers protest

Feb. 23, 2016 11:23 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 24, 2016 10:02 A.M.)
Palestinian teachers gathered in Ramallah on Feb. 23, 2016 despite Palestinian security forces setting up checkpoints across the West Bank to prevent the demonstration.
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Palestinian security forces set up checkpoints outside major West Bank cities early on Tuesday to prevent public school teachers from attending a major demonstration in Ramallah.

Palestinian security checkpoints were installed on all roads outside the cities of Ramallah and al-Bireh. Officers at the checkpoints stopped all vehicles travelling to Ramallah for inspection and turned back buses carrying teachers to the city.

A large numbers of security officers were deployed around government buildings in Ramallah, where teachers were planning on protesting.

An estimated 20,000 Palestinian teachers demonstrated in Ramallah last week to call for the implementation of a 2013 agreement guaranteeing teachers' rights.

Near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem, Palestinian security checkpoints near the Beit Jala junction and the town of Dar Salah on the main road towards Ramallah, turning back vehicles carrying several hundreds of teachers who were heading to the demonstration.

Palestinian security checkpoints were also erected outside Tulkarem in the northern West Bank for the same purpose.

“We are not opposing a policy or a regime; all we want is to be able to eat our bread in dignity,” a representative of Bethlehem-area teachers told Ma’an, adding that Palestinian security officers seized the driving licenses and identity documents of bus drivers.

Teachers in Bethlehem say that after security officers stopped their buses and ordered them to turn back, many teachers tried to travel in private vehicles, only to encounter more checkpoints further along the road.

In the northern West Bank city of Nablus, witnesses told Ma'an that Palestinian police officers threatened to revoke the licenses of taxi drivers who carried teachers to Ramallah.

Another source, who requested anonymity for safety reasons, told Ma'an that Palestinian security in Nablus also threatened to punish bus companies if they took teachers to Ramallah for the demonstration.

"The instructions the Palestinian government has given to its security services breach the basics of Palestinian law," Khalil Assaf, a member of a politically unaffiliated committee, told Ma'an.

Despite the checkpoints, scores of teachers nonetheless gathered in front of the council of ministers in Ramallah.

The heads of the Palestinian Teachers' Union submitted their resignation Monday after a deal they struck with the Palestinian Authority to end a national strike last week was widely rejected by teachers.

A 2013 agreement between the Palestinian teachers’ union and the government notably guaranteed a significant increase on teachers' basic salary.

However, three years after a lengthy teachers' strike over unpaid salaries, the Palestinian Authority has yet to make good on its promise to increase wages.

Teachers stopped at a Palestinian security checkpoint near Bethlehem

Teachers stopped at a Palestinian security checkpoint near Bethlehem

Teachers stopped at a Palestinian security checkpoint near Bethlehem

Teachers stopped at a Palestinian security checkpoint near Bethlehem

Teachers stopped at a Palestinian security checkpoint near Bethlehem

Teachers stopped at a Palestinian security checkpoint near Bethlehem

Teachers stopped at a Palestinian security checkpoint near Bethlehem

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