Ma'an News Agency
October 28, 2010 - 12:00am

TEL AVIV (Ma'an) -- Arab leaders have called for a strike in the city of Umm Al-Fahm on Thursday in response to police brutality at a far-right march a day earlier, Israeli media reported.

On Wednesday, extreme-right protesters marched into the city, which contains the largest Palestinian community inside Israel. The rally was called to demand the outlawing of the Islamic Movement in Israel, an Islamist movement among Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Violent clashes ensued as Palestinians threw stones and set fire to tires, and Israeli forces fired stun grenades and tear gas.

The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee called for a strike in the city, demanding that Israeli authorities investigate what the committee described as premeditated police brutality, the Israeli news site Ynet said.

The committee's chairman Mohammed Zeidan was quoted in the report as saying "it was an attack by security forces who came to the city with the intent of attacking us."

Racism in Israel "has become a phenomenon among decision makers and carried out on the ground. What happened today in Umm al-Fahm is a menacing escalation," he added.

Knesset member Afu Aghbaria, who was injured at the rally, said police used the incident to demonstrate their force to the city's predominantly Palestinian residents, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

The Coalition Against Racism had called on Israeli authorities to prevent the demonstration, which was approved by Israel's High Court. The coalition warned that the goal of the demonstration was to incite hatred and violence toward Palestinian citizens of Israel and pointed to the event's online announcement as evidence of that aim.


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