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P.A. Interior Minister Apologizes to Journalists

Palestinian Interior Minister Abdul Razak Al Yahia apologized to the journalists, who were attacked and arrested by the police force while covering an anti-Annapolis rally in Ramallah on Tuesday.
Speaking to a group of journalists at his office, Al-Yahia said he considered what happened as a “regrettable mistake,” promising a swift investigation to find out the reasons that led to this incident.
The minister, who took personal responsibility for the attack, indicated that clear orders had been issued to the police to ban all anti-conference rallies but also to avoid attacking both journalists and participants.  
“All those who were behind what happened will be punished,” he stated.
The meeting with the minister came as part of a sit-in held by the Palestinian Journalist Syndicate on Wednesday to protest the police attack on the journalists.
Meanwhile, head of the Fatah parliamentary bloc Azam Al-Ahmad has criticized the way the government handled the issue of the anti-conference rallies, describing the government’s response as “excessive and inexcusable.”
“People have the right to express their opinions in a peaceful way,” Ahmad added.   
Al-Ahmad also called for a swift government investigation into the event.
“Instead of attacking people, the government should allow rallies to be held in a peaceful and modern way,” he said.
Throughout the West Bank and Gaza, tens of thousands of people took the streets yesterday in anti-Annapolis rallies organized by the Muslim Fundamentalist Liberation Party, aka Al Tahrier.
The protesters chanted slogans calling Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud ‘Abbas a traitor.
Hundreds of police broke into the rallies by firing teargas grenades, shooting and beating the participants, which resulted in the killing of a youth and the wounding of several other participants and journalists.