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The death in custody of an activist after his arrest by Palestinian security forces in the Israeli-occupied West Bank has exposed deep discontent among Palestinian civilians towards their leaders. Amid mounting evidence that Nizar Banat had been severely beaten when security personnel raided his home before hauling him away, hundreds have taken to the streets calling for the resignation of the Palestinian president. Denouncing the authorities, protesters have chanted for the “overthrow of the regime”, a phrase taken from uprisings across Arab states a decade ago. Assaults on demonstrators in Ramallah, the seat of the governing Palestinian Authority (PA) by plainclothes men – some armed with sticks and rocks — provoked further outrage and deepened concerns about the repression of dissent. More demonstrations are planned for this weekend.

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