Clashes as Arab Israelis protest against right-wing march

Donald Macintyre
Wednesday 25 March 2009 01:00

A left-wing MP and the deputy head of Israel's police were among 31 people injured in clashes triggered by an extreme right-wing march on the northern Israeli Arab town of Umm El Fahm.

Police used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse stone-throwing Arab youths protesting at yesterday's march, which was led by two ultra-nationalist Jewish settlers from Hebron demanding that Umm el Fahm residents show "loyalty" to the state.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, one of the march organisers, said: "We came to say that the state of Israel is a Jewish state. We came in a show of loyalty and to say whoever is loyal, welcome. But people who flout the law should get out of here."

A 2,500-strong police contingent was sent to the town to keep the peace. Officers made 10 arrests. Deputy Police Commissioner Shahar Ayalon and Meretz Knesset member, Ilan Ghilon, were among those injured.

The march came amid increasing tensions between some Jewish and Arab Israelis.

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