Palestinian forces break up Ramallah protest over Gaza

Ramallah /PNN/

Palestinian security forces fired stun grenades and tear gas to disperse a rare anti-government protest in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on Wednesday, as hundreds demonstrated against Palestinian punitive measures against Hamas-run Gaza.

According local sources dozens beaten and arrested, including foreign journalists, in breakup of demonstration against PA economic sanctions on Gaza.

The protest in central Ramallah, the West Bank city , was in defiance of a temporary ban on demonstrations announced earlier on Wednesday by PA government .

The protesters were demanding that Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas drop measures against Gaza which critics say amount to collective punishment of the two million residents there.

The decision to ban protests in the city came after a Sunday demonstration, in which some 500 Palestinians called for an end to the Gaza measures.

A statement on official news agency Wafa on Wednesday cited the Eid Muslim festival which is expected to begin Friday as justification for the ban.

There was no immediate confirmation on the number of arrests and injuries, but AFP correspondents saw a number of people being detained.

Organisers denied that the march was pro-Hamas, instead stressing that it was in favour of Palestinian political unity and ending the decade-long split.

After the protesters were dispersed, organisers pledged to hold fresh rallies in the coming days in a new challenge to the ailing and unpopular Palestinian leader.

Late on Tuesday night, the PA Council of Ministers released a statement condemning the protests and placing sole blame on Hamas – the governing body in the Gaza Strip – for the dire situation Gazans now face.