Palestinian Authority police assaulted two journalists covering protests in Ramallah for the Washington Post on Saturday, the Foreign Press Association reported Tuesday. The journalists were covering a protest over the death of Nizar Banat, a critic of the PA government who died in police custody in June.
"On Saturday, August 21ST, Palestinian security forces in the West Bank harassed, abused and threatened a pair of Washington Post journalists, Salwan Georges and Sufian Taha, covering a protest in Ramallah’s Manara Square," the FPA statement read.
"As police broke up the gathering, a Palestinian policeman grabbed the Washington Post photographer as he was taking pictures of the arrests. The officer seized the camera, held the photographer’s neck and tore his press badge.
Georges told the police that he was with the international media, but was told: “Here it’s different. We don’t care.”
The police deleted seven photographs on the journalist's camera and gave it back an hour later. The two journalists were told to leave and that there would be a “big problem” if any pictures of the police officers involved were published.
The FPA condemned the incident and called on the Palestinian Authority to sanction the officers involved and to respect the freedom of the press.