Ref: 04/2010

The Palestinian Center for Human
Rights (PCHR) expresses its deep concern over attacks by police officers on a
number of participants in a festival organized by the Popular Front for the
Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) on Friday, 29 January 2010, in Al-Boreij refugee
camp. PCHR stresses that the right to
peaceful assembly and the right to freedom of opinion and expression are
fundamental human rights ensured by the Basic Law and international human
rights instruments.


According to investigations
conducted by PCHR, at approximately 15:00 on Friday, 29 January 2010, the PFLP
organized a festival in the central Gaza Strip. The festival titled "Loyalty to the Wise Man" was organized to
commemorate the second anniversary of the death of George Habash, the late
leader of PFLP. It was held in an open
area in the east of al-Boreij refugee camp, near Saladin Street. When the festival ended, Palestinian police
officers started attacking a number of participants with clubs. Those participants were waiting for buses to
take them home. PCHR documented the
injury of 7 participants,[1]
who were injured in various parts of their bodies. Some of them were taken to al-Aqsa Martyrs
Hospital in Deir El-Balah for medical treatment.


In his testimony to PCHR, one of
the injured participants stated:

"At approximately 17:00 on
Friday, some young men and I were waiting for buses at Saladin Street. An officer got closer and asked us to leave
the area immediately, and insulted us. Police officers then started beating us with clubs. They hit me on my head and back until I
fainted. I woke up at al-Aqsa Martyrs
Hospital where I received medical treatment, and was then released."


Another one said:

"At approximately 17:00, while
my friends and I were waiting for buses to take us to al-Maghazi refugee camp
when the festival ended, an officer got closer an asked us to leave the area immediately. He then used radio to call a police
force. Three police vehicles arrived and
started chasing us until they caught us. Members of the force started beating me on different parts of my body
using clubs until I fainted. I woke up
at al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, where I received medical treatment and underwent
an x-ray."



In light of the above, PCHR:


1. Strongly condemns the use of force by Palestinian police
officers to disperse a number of participants in the festival, and expresses
its grave concern over the recurrence of such attacks.

2. Calls upon the Gaza government to seriously investigate
this attack and bring the perpetrators to justice.

3. Stresses that people’s right to peaceful assembly is
ensured by the Palestinian Basic Law and the relevant international human
rights instruments, asserts that suppression of festivals is part of a policy
of muzzling and flagrant assaults on public liberties.




[1] PCHR keeps the names
of the injured.