x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Palestinians stage flashmob demonstration at settler supermarket

Around 80 Palestinian and international activists today staged an unexpected protest inside an Israeli supermarket in the West Bank.

SHAAR BINYAMIN, PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES // Around 80 Palestinian and international activists on Wednesday staged an unexpected protest inside an Israeli supermarket in the West Bank, police said.

The incident took place at the Rami Levy supermarket located in the Shaar Binyamin commercial centre on a highway just north of Jerusalem.

The low-cost supermarket, which is very close to Geva Binyamin, is not technically located inside the fence of the settlement, and is therefore accessible by both settlers and Palestinians.

Waving dozens of Palestinian flags and banners in English and Arabic reading "Boycott occupation and its products" they pushed their way into the shop where they shouted slogans, the correspondent said.

Shortly afterwards, around 50 Israeli soldiers and police arrived at the scene and herded them out where they continued their protest, he said, indicating that troops used stun grenades to break up the crowd.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri confirmed the incident, saying: "Around 70-80 activists are taking part in an illegal demonstration in the car park of Rami Levy.

"Police and the army are there to disperse the demonstrators."

She said four people were arrested, two men and two women, but did not say whether they were Palestinian or foreign nationals.

Witnesses said that one of those arrested was Palestinian activist Bassem Tamimi, who was recently convicted by an Israeli military court for protesting illegally and dispatching stone throwers.

Tamimi, who has played a central role in the weekly protests against settler takeover of land in Nabi Saleh village west of Ramallah, has been acknowledged by the European Union as a human rights defender.

In late May, Tamimi was sentenced to 30 months jail, but he had already served 13 months so the remaining 17 months were suspended for five years.

The military judge said the sentence would be activated if Tamimi took part in any "public disorder."