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Hundreds of people took to the streets in Jaffa Saturday to protest police violence toward citizens, which they say has been escalating.

"We are calling out, together, against violence, violence from the police," said Gabi Abad, head of the Arab Jaffa organization. "The body that is supposed to protect us is attacking us.

"We tell the police - we are against violence, especially against the innocent," he added.

The demonstrators marched through Jaffa from the central square toward the police department.

Among the demonstrators was the family of film director Scandar Copti, whose film Ajami, about crime and tension in Jaffa, has been nominated for the best foreign film at this year's Academy Awards.

Copti's brother, Jeras, who was arrested last month by police, claimed that the arresting officers used excessive force against him. He said he and his brother Tony were trying to prevent police from arresting a number of children in Jaffa who were suspected of hiding drugs.

According to the Coptis, the children were merely burying the body of their pet dog.

"We are not leaving Jaffa," he said, "no matter what they do to us if we stay."

Leftist MK Dov Khenin (Hadash) participated in the demonstration Saturday and said, "We have come here today to say clearly that human rights do not end at the borders of Jaffa."

"We demand that residents of Jaffa receive equal rights, be treated decently by the authorities, especially the police," he added.

Copti's sister, Mary, told Haaretz that "the basic human rights are to live in security without fear," adding that, "after what happened to those boys who were captured by the police without any justification, and abused, we have been left without our basic human rights, and with a sense of fear."