Investigators at the Israeli Justice Ministry launched Sunday an inquiry into police officers’ conduct with protestors in the Arab Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm last week.
The investigation was launched after dozens of Arab protesters were wounded when the Israeli police fired rubber-coated bullets, tear gas, stun grenades, and water cannons on hundreds of upset Arabs gathered last Friday outside the municipality for the seventh week in a row, to protest failure to control violence and crimes.
The activists marched while carrying 22 coffins, symbolizing the number of victims in the Arab society this year.
Footage from the protest showed police using a riot shield to pull a woman into traffic.
Umm al-Fahm mayor Samir Subhi Mahameed and Joint List MK Yousef Jabareen were injured during the protests.
Jabareen was hit with a rubber-coated bullet in the back, while Mahameed was injured after he was pushed. Both were taken to HaEmek Medical Center.
“The Israeli police started to use excessive violence without any prior notice,” Mahameed said, explaining that protestors had not even thrown one stone towards officers.
The mayor said the police already decided to ban any demonstration and had received orders saying that “Umm al-Fahm residents were inciting riots for the seventh consecutive week, but this time we will not allow them to do so.”
One citizen, Muhannad Mahajna, 30, was seriously injured after a stun grenade hit him in the head.
For years, violence and crime have been shocking the Arab community in Israel. In the past two years, however, they became a phenomenon that continues to spread.
Last year, up to 91 Arabs were killed in similar incidents.
Last week, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor strongly condemned the Israeli Police's suppression of demonstrations in Umm al-Fahm.