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Palestinians demand end to Abbas presidency after activist dies during ‘brutal beating and arrest’

Across the West Bank, large demonstrations were held calling for an end to the Palestinian Authority and the presidency of Mahmoud Abbas due to the death of Palestinian activist Nizar Banat. Banat died while in the custody of PA security forces on Thursday morning after allegedly being brutally beaten to death. Banat was honored at a funeral ceremony that occurred at the mosque in Hebron, where he lived. A crowd of roughly 15,000 walked behind Banat’s body as he was borne aloft through the streets, proclaiming him a martyr and waving Palestinian flags.

Chants such as “down with the Authority,” and “Abu Mazen is a traitor” were heard throughout the procession. Anti-Palestinian Authority protests were also held in Ramallah and Jerusalem’s Old City outside of the al Aqsa mosque. Banat was an outspoken critic of Abbas and the PA who used social media to denounce leaders for corruption and incompetence. One of his latest posts criticized the PA for its botched swap deal with Israel for 1 million doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. In an operation involving 20 armed officers, Banat was arrested in the early hours of Thursday morning, resulting in his death.

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