Dozens of journalists from Palestinian Authority enclaves protested outside the Interior Ministry in Ramallah on Tuesday.
The journalists vented their fury over violence used by PA security forces against journalists during a demonstration against planned meeting between PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz.
They also protested the arrest of six journalists during the protest, including Reuters photographer Sayyid al-Hawari, and journalist Ahmed Moslih. The journalists demanded the Interior Minister investigate the violence and arrests, and take punitive measures against those responsible.
In response, the Interior Ministry announced that the PA would launch an investigation into the complaint, and stressed the commitment of the PA to maintain freedom of expression and assembly.
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas described the right to freedom of expression as "sacred," adding that he instructed the security forces to protect this right "at all costs."
At the same time, Abbas said individuals could not be allowed to abuse the freedom of speech by "inciting against PA institutions," or "causing anarchy."
The PLO issued a statement trying to refocus public attention on tensions with Israel rather than government abuses by the PA.
"The first priority of our people, the PA, and its security forces is to continue campaign for the removal of Israeli occupation of our land, to obtain freedom for our people, and the restoration of our national unity in the establishment of a Palestinians state whose capital Al-Quds [the Temple Mount -Ed]."
"This requires us to unite, join ranks, and put off any differences of opinion," the statement read.