Palestinians plan mass rally for statehood

Sept. 20, 2011 at 4:59 PM
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RAMALLAH, West Bank, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Palestinian activists and officials have called for a mass rally in Ramallah Wednesday in support of the Palestinian bid for statehood in the United Nations.

Organizers hope tens of thousands of people turn out in the central West Bank city for the rally, which will include a march from the tomb of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at Palestinian Authority headquarters to Manara Square, Haaretz reported.

Schools will be closed for the day and civil servants will be allowed to attend the rally during work hours -- moves PA President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party hopes will increase attendance.

The Jerusalem Post said PA officials called for "peaceful demonstration" and Adnan Damiri, a spokesman for the PA security forces in the West Bank, said no "anarchy" would be allowed and the forces have been told to prevent use of firearms by Palestinians during the "celebrations."

Palestinians would be forbidden to leave areas under PA control, Damiri said, referring to the possibility some would march toward Israeli checkpoints and settlements.

"Our goal is to prevent friction with the occupation forces and the settlers," Damiri said.

Haaretz said Israel is putting security forces on high alert in case demonstrators march on checkpoints or Jewish settlements in areas controlled by Israel.

Damiri warned Palestinians would "confront" settlers who tried to enter PA-controlled territories in the West Bank.

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