Palestinian party withdraws from government over death of activist

The decision comes as a wave of anti-government protests took place across Palestine

Jerusalem24 – An official in the Palestinian People’s Party (formerly the Palestinian Communist Party) announced that the party’s central committee decided on Sunday to withdraw from the Palestinian government headed by Muhammad Shtayyeh due to “its disrespect for laws and public freedoms,” against the background of the death of a Palestinian activist during his arrest by the security services at dawn on Thursday.

“The decision was taken by the party’s political bureau three days ago, and the central committee approved the decision on Sunday,” Issam Bakr, a member of the party’s central committee, told AFP.

The People’s Party is represented in the Fatah-led government by Labor Minister Nasri Abu Jaish.

Shtayyeh’s government was formed in April 2019 by presidential decree, and was entrusted with the task of preparing for the elections, which were later postponed, and other parties such as the Democratic Union Party and the Popular Struggle Front joined it.

The People’s Party’s decision comes in light of the massive protests that took place in the Palestine following the killing of Palestinian human rights activist Nizar Banat during his arrest by the security services at dawn last Thursday.

Violent confrontations took place between protesters and Palestinian security men in the center of Ramallah on Sunday, close to the headquarters of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, during which a number of protesters and security personnel were injured.

While Nizar Banat’s family and human rights organizations announced that he was beaten by the security services upon his arrest, Palestinian Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh announced the formation of a committee to investigate the circumstances of his death.

Nizar Banat, 43, was one of the most vocal critics of the Palestinian Authority and its president, Abbas, on social media.

About two months ago, he announced that his house had been shot at by unknown assailants.

He was also a candidate for the Legislative Council in the elections that were supposed to take place in May for the independent “Freedom and Dignity” list, but the elections were later postponed.

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