Jerusalem24 – 24FM – Haya Al Rimawi (Translated by Rula Sughayer) – social media buzzed with posts of girls telling the stories of what they faced of verbal harassment and beatings as well as attempts of looting their personal bags and phones during their participation in Ramallah protests which condemn the killing of political activist Nizar Banat. And our 24FM team have contacted some of them.
Ayam Jabr; one of the participants in the protests said to 24FM “as soon as I arrived to Yasser Arafat’s square and as I was searching and walking towards the march, there were men dressed in civilian clothes holding water tanks and hitting people with it. There was an old lady who fell down, and as I was trying to help, a bunch of men came and started beating us.”
Ayam continues ‘’In my attempts to escape, I headed to the Barduni Building, when a huge guy came and kicked me in the chest, at first, I didn’t feal it, but when I made it inside the building, another guy came and pushed with all his power towards the wall… I couldn’t do anything but fell on the ground.”
She adds ‘’ and after I was able to walk, I went to the parking area next to the building and took out my phone to start documenting what Is happening, and that’s where a guy jumped from behind and grabbed my phone really hard. -This guy was dressed in a special security company uniform-.
In her talk, she described how she saw someone grabbing a girl from her neck and pushing her to the wall and spitting on her face later. Another guy put out a cigarette on one girl’s hand.
Ayam said “a lady kept coming upon us and started cursing at us saying: how much did they pay you to do this?… she added: “I was genuinely terrified…. I was on my own… I was alone”.
Yet, Ayam and her family are following up on what have happened with the legal authorities. She assures that she’s definitely able to recognize these men’s faces saying “I will never forget their faces in my life “
Rita Ammar who was also beaten up during her participation in Saturday’s demonstration. She said “I was walking down Rukab street and went into a pharmacy. Where a group of men dressed in civilian clothes were beating a guy hysterically. I couldn’t stand still, so I ran towards him in attempts to help him.
She added “I thought that if I stood in their face, they would stop because I’m a girl, but no, they continued with kicks on my left side, and one of them hit me on my chest, and here exactly I lost the ability to breathe and started to lose consciousness. “
“Plenty of girls were seeking to save me from these men’s grip but as much as they were trying to pull me out, a guy literally stepped on my body and pushed me back in. “
Rita told 24FM that she submitted a complaint and a statement of what she was exposed to the Independent Commission for Human Rights, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner and to Al-Haq organization.
At the same time, Lama Rabah said, “They insulted and sprayed water on us, and even threw stones from above the building upon us.” She talks about her experience, “I will never forget what happened that day. Young men from security forces, dressed in civilian clothes were assaulting girls, they stole their handbags and took their phones, even harassed girls in cars!” She added, “I saw a journalist, girls, and young men… there was a young man who was hit on his ribs and I swear I felt the pain.”
As for Yara (a pseudonym), she told 24FM, “When they dispersed the demonstration, my friend and I went towards Al-Maktbe Street. Young men called us and started cursing and screaming. There were two really close to us. I tried my best to explain to them that I was standing and waiting for my sister, but it was not as if they were listening to me” and she added that the two young men started Insulting her with curses, some of which contained a lot of sexual overtones.
“a young man literally told me, we will not hit you, but there are others who will hit you and do worse to you, and its better if I don’t tell you what they will do to you. Get out of here quickly,” said Yara, adding, “At the same time, an old man came and started insulting me and my friend. And told us, you want to insult the president and the government, HA ?!”