The Syrian population of the Golan Heights has gathered in the town of Majdal Shams to protest against Israeli policies in the occupied territories, Syria's SANA news agency reported. The protesters waved Syrian flags and burnt election ballots that had been distributed by local Israeli authorities.
Political activist and former prisoner Bashar al-Maqt, quoted by PressTV, slammed the elections that were organized by Tel Aviv as legally void and called on international organizations to pressure Israel to abandon its policies in the Golan Heights. Bashar al-Maqt further vowed to spread the protests to other Syrian communities in the Golan Heights.
The protests in Majdal Shams took place two weeks after a demonstration by the Golan's Druze community, who waved Syrian flags and set up portraits of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad along the border with the Arab Republic.
The Golan Heights were seized by Israel from Syria during the Six-Day War in 1967. For a long time the territory was governed by an Israeli military administration, but in 1981 Tel Aviv extended the jurisdiction of its laws to the territory and established a civil administration. The move was condemned by the UN Security Council as illegal from the point of international law. Israel justified its move as aimed at safeguarding its borders from aggressive military acts.