Palestinians in Hamas-run Gaza protest for 2nd day against economic deterioration

Source: Xinhua| 2019-03-16 03:35:54|Editor: Shi Yinglun
Video PlayerClose

GAZA, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated on Friday in the Gaza Strip for the second day in a row against the worsening economic situation in the coastal enclave that Hamas has been ruling since 2007.

Palestinian factions and political groups also denounced the use of force by Hamas security forces against the peaceful protesters against the high cost of living.

Eyewitnesses said the police of the Hamas-run Ministry of Interior forcibly dispersed the protesters, mainly in the central Gaza Strip town of Deir el-Ballah.

Dozens of protesters burned tires and blocked the main streets, chanting slogans calling for better living situation, they added.

Social media activists published photos and video clips showing Hamas police beating demonstrators.

The protests broke out on Thursday in the Palestinian refugee camp of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip and in Deir el-Ballah.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party said in a press statement that the use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrators "is condemned," adding "attacking people and journalists is a big shame and barbarian."

Meanwhile, Yehia Musa, a Hamas lawmaker, wrote on his Facebook page that Hamas leaders should hold a press conference and announce that it accepts the demonstrators' demands.

"We don't need demonstrations and we don't need security intervention. It's the right of everyone to express his opinion and to demonstrate, where security forces role is to protect them," said Musa.

The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), a left-wing Palestinian party, called on Hamas-run security forces to stop using force against peaceful and civil protest that calls for improving the hard living situation.

Rabah Muhana, a senior leader in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), another Palestinian left-wing party, said in a statement that the Palestinian factions should convene immediately to discuss the situation.

"Hamas should apologize to the Palestinian public for its security forces' behavior that only brings shame and it should stop all measures that were taken against the peaceful demonstrators," he said.

The demonstrations were organized by a new Palestinian group called the Popular Movement "We Want to Live," which comprises university students and social media activists.

The group called for a general strike on Saturday all over the Gaza Strip to condemn the Hamas police attack on the demonstrators, journalists and right activists.

It said in a press statement that the demands are to stop imposing taxes on products of food, cigarettes and clothes, as "the taxes are exhausting the poor citizens who suffer from poverty and unemployment."

A few days ago, human rights groups in the Gaza Strip accused the Hamas security services of arresting 12 Palestinian activists from northern Gaza.

Israel has imposed a tight blockade on the Gaza Strip, home to more than 2 million Palestinians since mid-2007, after Hamas forcibly seized control of the enclave from Abbas' security forces.

The unemployment rate has climbed to 52 percent since Israel imposed the blockade, according to the latest Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) report.

According to the Palestinian Popular Committee to Confront the Israeli Siege, the per capita daily income of the Gazans is no more than 2 U.S. dollars, the worst in the world.