On Saturday, Israeli police raided the site of the historic Al-Aqsa mosque complex in East Jerusalem, arresting dozens of Palestinian activists.
The police were attempting to confiscate the mosque, located at the southern entrance to the Old City, after the Palestinians had set up a protest camp there, according to a statement from the Jerusalem municipality.
The group, known as “The Friends of the Al- Aqsa Mosque,” has been holding protests against the construction of a new mosque in the Old Town since the end of October, with the aim of preventing the construction.
“We were not allowed to set up any protest in the Al Aqsan mosque,” said Ahmad Nasser, a prominent Palestinian activist and the head of “The Citizens of Al- An-Aqa Mosque,” who was arrested.
Nasser is one of the activists arrested, along with five others.
The Palestinians were protesting against a proposal to build a new building, which would include a prayer room and the entrance to a park.
“Our protest was peaceful and it was in support of the mosque,” Nasser said.
“They were only trying to confiscates the building, not build it.”
According to the statement, the police came to the AlAqsan Mosque after a “large number of activists” had arrived there for a meeting.
“During the meeting, a police officer informed them that they could not enter the mosque and to leave,” the statement continued.
The protesters were forced to leave the mosque by using their own force.” “
The demonstrators continued to resist police attempts to forcibly enter the Al Arab Mosque.
The protesters were forced to leave the mosque by using their own force.”
The police also confiscated several phones and cameras, according the statement.
“Several of the protesters were taken into custody for questioning by the police,” it continued.
Police then “confronted” and “beat up” the activists, while other protesters were allowed to enter the building.
“After being beaten up, a group of protesters threw stones at police and set off fireworks,” the report added.
“A Palestinian man who had been filming the police beating said that police officers and others began shouting at the group that they would ‘get the Muslim community,'” it continued, adding that they were “trying to create an atmosphere of fear in the population.”
“The police used their police weapons and batons against the activists,” the police statement concluded.
“Some activists, who were being detained by the officers, were handcuffed and placed in police vans, and police officers were searching them to find a weapon.”
The Israeli occupation has demolished dozens of mosques and Christian and Muslim shrines in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
“At the Al Azsa mosque, police confiscated all the materials of the site,” said Nasser.
“I think that it is a great victory for us, because we were allowed entry to the mosque to peacefully protest against the mosque.
We are glad that the occupation will be able to see that we are peaceful protesters, and not the perpetrators of the crime of demolishing the mosque.”