Israel's Arab citizens intend to step up last week's protests against the lack of police and government response to the recent rise in violence in their communities.
The protestors are demanding an escalation of the demonstrations including blocking roads around the country until the government takes action against the wave of violence that has claimed the lives of 68 members of the community since the start of 2019.
"We’re still in a state of emergency," says Sana Masarwa from Wadi Ara. "We can't let up until the police find some sort of solution; we need to take to the streets and block roads every day until the police arrests the criminals and shooters."
A resident of a central Israel concentration of Arab towns known as "the Little Triangle," who preferred to remain anonymous, says: "My friends and I decided not to return to our homes as usual, the police needs to know that it's a part of the problem with its lack of deterrence and letting criminals run free."
"The police need to understand, if they don’t do anything, we’ll take the law into our own hands and start a war against the criminals," he says.
"It might be extreme, but we’re ready to sacrifice our lives for a safe society."
The High Follow-Up Committee for Arab citizens of Israel (an extra-parliamentary umbrella organization that represents the Arab citizens of Israel on the national level) convened on Saturday in Tamra in the Galilee, to discuss the continuation of the protests.
During the meeting, the Follow-Up Committee praised the success of the strike on Thursday, and the public response that saw tens of thousands of people take to the streets.
"The protests show the Arab population's will to reclaim its right to live decently and with personal safety, and innoculate itself against the plague of violence and anarchy as part of its fight for equal rights," said a representative of the committee.
The Follow-Up Committee also accused the government, primarily the police, of not taking a tough enough stance against the violence afflicting the Arab population.
"It's a racist policy meant to tear Arab society down from within,and destroy the social fabric of the Arab population," the Committee said. "The right to personal security is a basic right that's not negotiable."
Recently, Border Police forces were stationed in several Arab villages, which the Committee dismissed as an attempt to reinstate martial law and demanded a plan to fight the recent crime wave in coordination with local officials.