Banat, 43, was well-known for his social media videos denouncing PA corruption. His death after being arrested in a raid on his home on Thursday, 24 June, sparked widespread anger among opponents of the authority.
Journalists covering the protests in Ramallah have reported facing intense hostility from PA supporters, who have threatened them and destroyed their equipment. An Al Jazeera journalist called it “a concerted campaign” against the media. PA security services were also reported to have attacked opponents of the official Palestinian leadership.
Other protests against Banat’s death took place on Sunday in Hebron, his hometown, as well as in Bethlehem, where PA security services fired tear gas and stun grenades at protesters.
An initial autopsy of Banat’s body suggested that he had been beaten on the head, chest, hands, legs, and neck – and that there was less than an hour between his detention and death. His family said security services used pepper spray on him before he died.
In response to the outrage at his death, the PA said they would open an investigation into the incident, but this has had little impact on the anger against them.
Protests began on Thursday, the day of Banat’s death, with roads being blocked, cars set alight, and clashes between protesters and PA police in Ramallah. The protests continued on Friday, with mourners chanting anti-PA slogans at his funeral and also at Friday prayers at Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
On Saturday, hundreds of people tried marching to the office compound of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, only to be attacked by security forces.
Banat had been registered as a candidate to take part in Palestinian parliamentary elections, which were originally set to take place in May before Abbas postponed them indefinitely.
There has been a widespread feeling that the PA and Abbas have postponed elections as a means to retain power. Many also feel that the authority is increasingly authoritarian and too close to Israel, leading to accusations it is a collaborator with the occupation.
The revolt against the PA has also led to the resignation of the authority’s labour minister, Nasri Abu Jaish, on Sunday. His People’s Party withdrew from the PA in response to Banat’s killing.