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Palestinians rally in support of jailed ‘slap video’ teen

Palestinians rally in support of jailed ‘slap video’ teen

(AFP) – Clashes broke out after dozens of Palestinian and Arab Israeli supporters of jailed teenager Ahed Tamimi protested near her home in the occupied West Bank on Saturday, AFP correspondents said.

Tamimi, 16, was arrested on December 19, days after a video went viral showing her slapping Israeli soldiers near her home in the village of Nabi Saleh in an apparent attempt to provoke them.

She was charged in a military court on January 1 with 12 counts, including assault. The army kept her in custody.

Tamimi’s mother and another relative were also charged over the same incident, with the latter released on bail until her trial in February.

Around 100 Palestinians from across the West Bank arrived to protest against Ahed Tamimi’s arrest, chanting for her release and against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.

The demonstration was attended by leaders from various Palestinian factions and Israeli Arab members of Israel’s parliament.

Tamimi’s father Bassem, himself a prominent campaigner against Israeli occupation of the West Bank, thanked participants for their “solidarity with Ahed”.

Protests erupted after the speeches, and Israeli forces fired tear gas at stone-throwing youths.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli army said soldiers used riot dispersal means, and in order to “prevent further violent riots” declared part of the Nabi Saleh area a closed military zone.

Israelis see the video, which showed Israeli soldiers not reacting to an apparent attempt to provoke them, as evidence of the morality of their army.

Palestinians argue that Tamimi was merely seeking to force Israeli soldiers off their land, and point to her subsequent night-time military arrest as evidence of abuse of a child’s rights.

The European Union expressed concern about Israel’s detention of minors, including Ahed, on Friday.

Tamimi and her mother will be in court again on Monday for a hearing on a request that they be released until their trials begin.

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