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Hamas forcibly disperses Gaza protest – witnesses
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
03/02/2011
Eyewitnesses said that the policemen then used force to disperse the protesters, some of whom were taken into custody.
 
Hamas policemen in the Gaza Strip have, in the past 48 hours, broken up demonstrations organized by young Palestinians who are demanding that the Islamist movement and Fatah end their differences and form a unity government.

Inspired by the current uprisings in a number of Arab countries, the protests on Monday and Tuesday were organized through Facebook members in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

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Demonstrators said Tuesday that as soon as they had gathered in Gaza City’s main square, Hamas policemen had shown up and informed them that their demonstration was unlicensed.

“They ordered us to leave or face arrest,” said one of the activists. “They threatened to beat and arrest anyone who violates [the orders].”

Eyewitnesses said that the policemen then used force to disperse the protesters, some of whom were taken into custody.

According to a human rights organization in the Gaza Strip, the policemen beat Ahmed Arar, one of the main organizers of the protest, and arrested three others.

A number of photographers who were invited to cover the event were forced to leave the area after being threatened by the Hamas policemen, the eyewitnesses said.
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