Gaza poster depicting hanging of PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
(photo credit: HAMAS MEDIA)
Thousands of supporters of ousted Fatah official Muhammad Dahlan marched through the streets of Gaza City on Thursday, chanting slogans against PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
The protest, the first of its kind in the Gaza Strip, is a sign of increased tensions between Abbas and Dahlan, a former Palestinian Authority security commander who was expelled from Fatah three years ago following a sharp dispute with the PA president and his two sons.
Hamas security forces did not intervene to stop the pro-Dahlan march. The march is an indication of the continued support Dahlan enjoys among cadres of Fatah in the Gaza Strip.
The protesters carried photos of Dahlan and chanted slogans accusing Abbas of treason and holding him responsible for the continued blockade on Gaza. They also accused Abbas of destroying Fatah and compromising Palestinian rights.
Eyewitnesses said many of the protesters were former members of the PA security forces and Fatah’s armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades.
On the eve of the protest, the PA said it all those attending the protest would be expelled from the PA and Fatah. The decision means they would no longer receive salaries from the PA .
Abbas has repeatedly accused Dahlan of financial corruption and working to undermine the PA leadership.
Dahlan, who is currently based in the United Arab Emirates, has denied the charges against him.
On Thursday, Dahlan published a status on Facebook in which he accused Abbas of being a dictator and “forging facts on a daily basis.”
“Palestine can’t be run through bullying and dictatorship by Abbas and his gang. Today’s mass protest in the Gaza Strip by Fatah youths is a clear message to the tyrant of Ramallah marking the beginning of a new phase of opposing his policy, which is disrespectful of his people and Fatah,” Dahlan wrote.
Abbas loyalists in the West Bank published a statement in which they described the pro-Dahlan march as suspicious, saying it was aimed at creating divisions among Palestinians.
They also accused Hamas security forces of arresting several Fatah activists in the Gaza Strip who carried photos of Abbas in protest against the pro-Dahlan event.