Monday, March 23, 2009

Police disperse 'Palestinian Culture Festival' in Jerusalem

By Jonathan Lis and Jack Khoury, Haaretz Correspondents, staff and Reuters

Jerusalem Police yesterday dispersed several small events scheduled for the Palestinian Culture Festival, meant to declare the city "the capital of Arabic culture for 2009."

The Palestinian Authority had organized the event, and activities were to be held in Jerusalem and Nazareth, as well as Gaza, Lebanon and Bethlehem. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was scheduled to kick off the celebrations from his headquarters in Ramallah.

The law prohibits the Palestinian Authority from staging any events in the Jerusalem municipality.

As of yesterday afternoon, police had shut down eight events and arrested 20 people who were believed to be the organizers.

The detainees included two employees of Al-Quds University who were planning to hand out T-shirts promoting the festival. Police also prevented students from entering the university campus.

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