Thousands of Arabs demonstrated in Israeli-Arab town Sakhnin on Monday marking 12 years since the October 2000 riots in which 12 Arab-Israelis, a Palestinian were killed. They are protesting the State's failure to take legal action against members of the security forces who caused the victims' deaths.
The protesters carried Palestinian flags and posters reading "The blood of the martyrs is dear to us", "We shall not forgive the killers" and "The Israeli government wants to humiliate us."
Many of the victims' families who participated in the protest leveled harsh criticism at the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee that organized the march and demanded that a general strike be declared in the Arab sector.
The mother of one of the victims said that her son had sacrificed his life for the Arab people. "It's been 12 years but I feel it's only been 12 seconds," she said.
While no strike has been declared, hundreds of Arab students chose not to attend school on Monday.
"The monitoring committee will not decide what we do on this day," a high school student from Sakhnin said. "If they don't want a strike, we'll do it. We have called on all the students not to go to school and to demonstrate on the main road for the martyrs. It is a very important matter."
The protest was attended by Knesset Member Talab El-Sana who said, "If the government fails to do justice – we shall. If it fails to punish the criminals – we shall. We shall not forgive and forget. The Arab public holds the Israeli government accountable and demands an apology by the prime minister and the prosecution of the murderers.
The October 2000 riots were held in the first days of the 2000's (Al-Aqsa) Intifada, when thousands of angry Arabs in Israel joined the Palestinians in riots as response to Ariel Sharon visit in Al-Aqsa mosque.
The Arabs rioted mainly in Northern Israel and Jaffa and small police forces found themselves not ready and attacked and serrounded by hundreds of furios Arabs. As a result forces opened fire, from which 13 protesters were killed.
Israel established a national committee to investigate the events - The committee criticized the Police for not be able to anticipate such scale of riots and be ready for them and advised the removal of several police chiefs.
The riots remained as an open wound in the relations of the Israeli-Arabs and the state.
Note: Both the photo and video are all of images from the October 2000 riots, all taken in N.Israel-
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