Haifa’s deputy mayor and his son were beaten Saturday night when right-wing activists attacked Hadash and Communists activists protesting Israel’s massacre in the Gaza Strip. According to “Haaretz” and “Al Ittihad”, the right-wing activists had gathered in the area, burned a Palestinian flag and shouted “Death to Arabs,” and “Death to leftists.”
They asked a reporter not to photograph them and discussed among themselves whether a man nearby wearing a red shirt was an Arab. They ran toward that man and a second one, some concealing their faces with their shirts. When they heard a police siren they fled, leaving the second man bleeding and bruised on the sidewalk. That man turned out to be Haifa’s deputy mayor and a leading Hadash member, a family physician, Dr. Suhail Assad. The right-wingers also beat the man in the red shirt — Assad’s son. “They came up to us and asked where we were going,” Assad said Saturday night by phone from the emergency room at Carmel Medical Center. “I asked them why and they said ‘because we’re interested,’ and they started beating up my son and me. Four men attacked us.”
Assad said he tried to fight back but was struck in the face and fell. They continued to hit his son. “Luckily he didn’t fall down; otherwise they would have finished him off. At that point a policeman arrived on a motorcycle, looked at everything and left, but they stopped,” Assad said. “Two young women there protected us from [the right-wingers] and helped us. They brought us water, and I appreciate it. I’m not used to things like that in Haifa.” Assad filed a police complaint Sunday.
The anti-war protest was organized by the Arab-Jewish Hadash front and the Communist Party of Israel, which Assad represents on the city council. The demonstration drew about hundreds of people, Arabs and Jews. Initially, the fascists’ war’s supporters threw plastic bottles at the other side; they later threw glass bottles. The police did not appear to be trying hard to protect the left-wing protesters. A small amount of tear gas was also used, apparently by the right-wingers. The organizers of the left-wing demonstration called for large signs to be brought forward to be used as shields against the violence.
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