Demonstrators commemorated on Thursday the Israeli Arab riots of October 2000, during which 13 Arab youth were killed by Israeli police.
Israeli Arabs were rioting in solidarity with the Palestinian Intifada which had just begun in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. During the riots, which lasted some ten days, 12 Israeli Arabs and one Palestinian resident of the Gaza Strip were shot and killed by police and security forces during violent demonstrations at the entrance to Umm al-Fahm.
The events of October 2000 have become a contentious issue for Israeli Arabs, many of whom say Israel has failed to properly investigate the circumstances of the riot and take action against the police officers who killed the youths.
Israeli Arabs have expressed anger over the issue by holding demonstrations and strikes during the month of October in the years since the incident.
Demonstrators gathered on Thursday in small groups in Nazareth and Haifa and at 12 major intersections across Israel. They waved Palestinian flags and held pictures of those killed in the riots.
The official event which will begin the commemorations is scheduled to take place on October 1, in the Israeli Arab town of Kfar Kanna. A general strike in the Arab sector is scheduled to begin then as well.
In the next few days, the parents of those killed will present a special report which slams former Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, who decided not to indict the police officers involved in the deaths.
Families of the 13 killed still stand firm on their demand that a new investigation into the incident be opened and the police who killed the rioters be brought to justice.