Hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets of Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian government in the occupied West Bank, calling for President Mahmud Abbas to quit.

A Palestinian throws rock in response to Palestinian security forces intervention during a protest against the death of opposition activist Nizar Benat shortly after he was detained by Palestinian security forces in Ramallah, West Bank on June 26, 2021.
A Palestinian throws rock in response to Palestinian security forces intervention during a protest against the death of opposition activist Nizar Benat shortly after he was detained by Palestinian security forces in Ramallah, West Bank on June 26, 2021. (AA)

Palestinian protesters have clashed with Palestinian security forces in the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, the third day of demonstrations sparked by an activist's death in custody.

Nizar Banat, a 43-year-old from Hebron known for social media videos denouncing alleged corruption within the Palestinian government, died on Thursday shortly after security forces stormed his house and violently arrested him, his family said.

On Saturday, hundreds took to the streets of Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian government in the occupied West Bank, calling for President Mahmud Abbas to quit.

READ MORE: Autopsy shows head blows in death of Abbas critic as UN seeks probe

'Leave'

Protester Ismat Mansour said the death of Banat was just "the tip of the iceberg" while accusing the government of "a mountain of corruption" and demanding that elections be held.

Others held up placards directed at Abbas' government that simply said: "leave".

Security officers in riot gear blocked off streets.

An AFP photographer said protesters hurled rocks at security forces, who responded by launching a barrage of tear gas canisters to break up the crowds.

It was not immediately possible to confirm if there were any injuries following the protests on Saturday.

Banat had registered as a candidate in Palestinian parliamentary elections, which had been set for May until Abbas postponed them indefinitely.

Banat's family said the forces used pepper spray on him, beat him badly, and dragged him away in a vehicle.

Samir Abu Zarzour, the doctor who carried out the autopsy, said injuries on Banat's body indicated he had been beaten on the head, chest, neck, legs, and hands, with less than an hour elapsing between his arrest and his death.

READ MORE: Palestinians call for change of government at Abbas critic's funeral

International condemnation

On Thursday, after news spread of his death, some 300 people gathered in Ramallah, as well as in Banat's hometown of Hebron.

On Friday, thousands of mourners attended his funeral in Hebron, with crowds there chanting angry slogans against the government, as well as at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem.

Banat's death also sparked condemnation from the United States, United Nations, and European Union.

Palestinian prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said an investigation had been launched.

The Palestinian government exercises limited powers over some 40 percent of the West Bank, occupied by Israel since the Six-Day War of 1967.

Israel, which controls all access to the territory and coordinates with the government, directly administers the remaining 60 percent.

READ MORE: Palestinian anger grows over death of rights activist in police custody

Source: AFP