Hamas: PA Forces Assault Protesters in Ramallah

Palestinian Authority security forces “assaulted” Hamas-affiliated protesters in Ramallah Monday evening, the Islamist movement said.

Hamas said it had organized a protest in support of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners and that PA forces who were trying to prevent the rally assaulted Hamas leader Hassan Yousef, among other protesters.

Additionally, three Palestinian journalists who were covering the rally were also targeted by PA forces.

As the security forces attempted to disperse the rally, brawls broke out, leading to injuries among protesters.

Hamas condemned the forces’ actions and demanded that the PA be held responsible.

Assaults by the security forces “poison the atmosphere of the reconciliation,” said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zahri.

He demanded that President Mahmoud Abbas stop “treating our people with this criminal mentality.”

The clashes come as thousands of public sector workers await their salaries following the closure of banks by Hamas security forces in Gaza.

Police officers of the former Hamas-run government in Gaza have been stationed at banks and preventing PA employees from withdrawing their wages.

Employees of the previous government see it as Ramallah’s responsibility to pay their salaries, a point of contention yet to be worked out by the new government.

But a Fatah spokesman said Hamas would need to pay the employees of its recently-disposed government.

“Hamas is attempting to burden the Palestinian Authority and the national consensus government with its political and financial crisis,” Ahmad Assaf said in a statement.

He said there had been no agreement ahead of reconciliation for the new government to pay Hamas employees’ salaries.

The fate of the former Gaza government’s civil servants remains unclear.

(Ma’an – www.maannews.net)

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