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Israel's Arabs rise up against organised crime, police complicity

Thousands protest against the increase in crime rates in in Um Al Fahem on 5 March 2021 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]
Thousands protest against the increase in crime rates in Um Al Fahem on 5 March 2021 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

Tens of thousands of Arabs in Israel marched on the northern city Um Al Fahem city on Friday to protest against spiralling levels crime in their communities.

Um Al Fahem residents have been holding weekly demonstrations against violence and organised crime for the past two months. Yesterday's turnout was, however, significantly higher.

Some reporters described Friday's protest as the largest staged by Palestinians in Israel since the 1980s.

Demonstrators carried Palestinian flags and placards condemning Israeli police racism and complicity with criminal gangs. They accuse the police of refusing to crack down on the powerful organisations.

Organised crime is widely seen as the main cause for the spread of violence in Arab cities and towns.

Despite the closure of main roads leading to Um Al Fahem, protesters still managed to converge on the city.

Head of the Joint List Ayman Odeh told reporters, "Police are preventing people from coming to Um Al Fahem because they are scared by both the protestors and the criminal organisations."

Since the beginning of 2021, 22 Arabs have died violently inside Israel.

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