Palestinians protest death of presidential critic

There have been several days of protests in the occupied West Bank, following the death in custody of a prominent critic of President Mahmoud Abbas.

Palestinian security officers have clashed with protesters, who have marched through Hebron and Ramallah.

The family of the activist, Nizar Banat, says Palestinian Authority (PA) forces broke into a relative's house where he had been staying in the early hours of Thursday (June 24) and beat him with a metal rod before arresting him. He later died.

Banat had accused Abbas's PA of corruption, including over a short-lived COVID vaccine exchange with Israel, and Abbas's postponement of a long-delayed election in May.

He had registered as a candidate for parliament in the race.

The PA security services say they're investigating the death.

But protestors like Esmat Mansour want the inquiry to be led by someone else.

"The killing of Banat is the tip of the iceberg, it hides a mountain of corruption and the absence of elected organizations. We want a total political reform."

Rights groups say Abbas regularly arrests critics. Human Rights Watch said the arrest was "no anomaly".

Abbas and the PA have rejected accusations of corruption, and that they arrest people for their political views.

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