Hamas-led government in the Gaza Strip banned a rally on Wednesday protesting the ongoing rift between Hamas and Fatah.
Yasser al-Wadiya, chairman of a coalition of independent figures in Gaza, said that Hamas-affiliated security forces “forcibly” dispersed the crowds who gathered in protest at the ‘Unknown Soldier Square’ in Gaza City.
This occurred despite Al-Wadiya’s acknowledgment that the organizers had submitted a request to organize a protest at the office of the Director of Gaza Security Forces Tawfiq Abu Naim.
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He stated that “security forces arrived in the morning and prevented the protesters from advancing and confiscated some mobile phones”.
The relationship between Hamas and Fatah has been antagonistic after a government of national consensus was dissolved in June 2015, one year after it was first announced. The two Palestinian parties have had particularly tense relations since Hamas won legislative elections in 2006 and became the ruling party in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas has been criticized by officials from the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority for creating a shadow government in the Gaza Strip and blocking efforts to reach political unity.
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Hamas has in turn accused the PA of executing a plan to “eradicate” the movement from the West Bank, saying that an arrest campaign of hundreds of members was carried out by the PA to target reconciliation efforts between the two factions.
Another rally was also organized in Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank, to mark nine years of rivalry and disagreement between Hamas and Fatah.
Leaders of Hamas and Fatah are currently engaged in peace talks in Doha.