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Palestinian Marchers Seek Abbas Resignation over Israel Ties

  • Associated Press

Palestinians take part in a protest against the Palestinian authority, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, March 13, 2017.

Palestinians take part in a protest against the Palestinian authority, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, March 13, 2017.

Several hundred Palestinians marched in an anti-government protest Monday, calling for the resignation of President Mahmoud Abbas and criticizing his security coordination with Israel.

Separately, Palestinian journalists staged a sit-in nearby to protest the violent dispersal of an anti-government protest by Palestinian riot police a day earlier.

In Sunday's incident, helmeted troops beat demonstrators and journalists with clubs. Jihad Barakat of Palestine Today TV said he was pushed and that his camera was broken. He said he saw three colleagues being beaten with clubs.

Nasser Abu Bakr, head of the journalists' union, said his organization demands that the riot troops who beat journalists on Sunday be put on trial.

Critics have said Abbas and his government are becoming increasingly intolerant of dissent.

Dozens of people have been detained after peaceful protests in the past six months, though most were released, said Amar Dweik, head of Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights.

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah promised Monday that he would launch an investigation into Sunday's incident. He said he formed a committee that includes Dweik, the deputy interior minister and members of the lawyers' union.

Meanwhile, several hundred protesters marched through the center of the West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday, calling on Abbas to resign. Abbas heads the Palestinian Authority, a self-rule government that administers parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Marchers also chanted that "security coordination is treason." The policy, in which Abbas' forces and Israeli troops cooperate against Islamic militants, is unpopular among Palestinians.

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