Hamas opponents defy ban and protest in Gaza

Using clubs and rifle butts, Hamas militiamen sought to stop a protest by political opponents in the Gaza Strip on Monday, but around 300 people defied the ban and rallied in a main square, chanting "We want freedom." After Fatah and other allied groups announced plans to stage a rally Monday, Hamas banned "all demonstrations and public gatherings" that did not have special permission. Buses arriving at the protest site were halted by Hamas guards who beat protesters, driving them away and confiscating Fatah flags. Nevertheless, about 300 protesters got past the cordon and demonstrated for about 20 minutes, shouting, "We want to raise our voice," before dispersing.