Palestinians at Gaza rally 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)
Scores of Fatah activists on Wednesday night attacked Palestinians who were
demonstrating in Ramallah to demand an end to the dispute between Fatah and
Hamas, eyewitnesses said.
At least five people were wounded in the
attack, which drew strong condemnations from many Palestinians across the
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Some Palestinians drew parallels between the incident
and similar attacks on anti-government demonstrators in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt
Last week, Jordanian opposition members and eyewitnesses
accused the government of unleashing “thugs” against peaceful demonstrators on
the streets of Amman.
The “thugs” were recruited by Jordanian security
agencies in an attempt to intimidate the anti-government protesters, who have
been staging weekly demonstrations since the beginning of the year, they
The Jordanian government has since promised to launch an
The scenes on the streets of Amman were reminiscent of the
massive attack by hundreds of pro-government thugs on Egyptian demonstrators in
Cairo’s Tahrir Square earlier this year.
The Palestinian Authority
leadership has promised to investigate Wednesday night’s assault in Ramallah’s
Manara Square. However, some of the youths who were beaten by the Fatah
assailants accused the PA of standing behind the attack, saying some 50
activists took part in the assault.
“The Palestinian policemen who were
standing nearby did not intervene to stop the attack,” one eyewitness said. “The
thugs could not have carried out the attack had they not received a green light
from the Palestinian leadership.”
The protesters had set up a tent in
Manara Square as part of a Facebook campaign to urge Hamas and Fatah to end
The campaign was launched on March 15 in the West Bank and
The protesters have since gone on a hunger strike, declaring
that they would not leave the square until the two rival parties achieve
This was the fourth assault on the protesters in Ramallah
since they began their sit-in strike.
An attempt to set up a similar
protest tent in Gaza City was foiled by Hamas policemen, who used excessive
force to disperse the pro-unity protests.
Another eyewitness said that
the attackers beat the Ramallah protesters with clubs and chains before
destroying their tent. They also beat a passersby who tried to film them with
their mobile phones, the eyewitness added.
He said that PA policemen
intervened only after the attackers began fleeing the area.
One of the
demonstrators said that he and his friends were now considering replacing their
slogan, “The People want An End To Division,” with “The People Want An End To
Attacks On Them.”
A PA security source confirmed that the assailants were
Fatah supporters. He said that they were part of a group of Fatah activists who
were celebrating the victory of their list in the Bir Zeit University student
However, the PA governor of Ramallah, Leila Ghannam,
said that the attack was carried out by a number of unidentified “irresponsible
people.” She added that she visited the square shortly after the incident and
saw that everything was quiet.
The PA has launched an investigation into
the assault, she said.