Hundreds marched in Haifa on Friday to protest Israel’s actions in Gaza. The demonstrations came on the first Friday of Ramadan and after the Great Return March ended in Gaza this week. They also came after 60 Palestinians were killed on Monday and amid calls by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate Israel’s actions.
According to video posted online the protesters chanted and marched in downtown Haifa along Jaffa street.
Some of those who attended called it a “day of rage against the occupation.” The crowd chanted in Arabic and clapped as they walked down the streets, some of them holding Palestinian flags. In the evening police detained up to 18 of the marchers, according to local reports. Jafar Farah, the Director of the Mossawa Center that advocates for Arab Citizens in Israel was one of those detained according to Tweets and an account by Ahmed Darawsha, who was present.
#حيفا الان #غزة #مسيرات_العودة_الكبرى pic.twitter.com/6FFU4lQGZ7— WaadGh (@wa3dghantous) 18 May 2018
The arrests and clashes with police took place at Paris Square, also known as Hamra Square by locals. “They attacked the crowd and some cops made sure to aim for my camera,” wrote Nadine Nashef, who attended the rally. The protest ended around midnight.
Haifa has long been a center for political activism and cultural institutions for Arabs in Israel. The city was the center of controversy over efforts to cut off state funding for the Al-Midan theatre over accusations of its pro-Palestinian programming.Joint List leader Ayman Odeh is from Haifa and the city has strong branches of local political parties such as Hadash that form part of the Joint List. In mid-April hundreds protested the US-led airstrikes on Syria.