Palestinians try to block the convoy of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres upon his arrival near Erez crossing in the northern Gaza Strip, August 30, 2017. (REUTERS Photo)
GAZA, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- Dozens of Palestinians, including family members and relatives of prisoners held in Israeli prisons, intercepted Wednesday the convoy of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in northern Gaza.
Guterres and his convoy of UN vehicles entered Gaza through the Erez border crossing between the northern tip of the blockaded coastal enclave and Israel, witnesses said.
When the convoy passed a Hamas-controlled checkpoint, relatives of Palestinian prisoners intercepted it and demonstrated before the convoy continued heading to the Gaza city.
The banners they held read: "Where are the rights of our prisoners. The rights of our prisoners are violated on daily basis."
The demonstrators also called on Guterres "to intervene and put pressure on the Israeli occupation to stop its violations and crimes against" the Palestinians in Israeli prisons.
They also condemned what they termed the silence of the UN toward what is happening in the Gaza Strip for more than ten years.
The Portuguese UN chief is not scheduled to meet with any of Islamic Hamas leaders, who have been ruling Gaza since their movement violently seized control of the territory in June 2007.
A day earlier, Ahmed Bahar, deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, or parliament, said Guterres' visit to Gaza is "unwelcome," because he expressed solidarity with Israeli hostages and neglected thousands of Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli jails.
But later, Fawzi Barhoum, Hamas spokesman in Gaza said in a press statement that Guterres' visit to Gaza is "welcome," after the UN chief paid a visit to the families of the Palestinian prisoners during his tour in West Bank.
Guterres also met with three refugee families from the Gaza Strip and listened to them over the situation in the coastal enclave.
"He has to help end the Israeli blockade and rescue the deteriorating humanitarian situation," Barhoum said.
Local UN officials said Guterres will visit the UN headquarters in the Gaza city and get a briefing from UN officials on the situation in Gaza.
He will tour Gaza and meet with Palestinian notables and the leaders of the clans in the enclave.
Guterres arrived in Israel on Monday and held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On Tuesday, he visited the West Bank city of Ramallah and held talks with Prime Minister of the Palestinian consensus government Rami Hamdallah.