Groups condemn Hamas attacks on Gaza protesters

PNN/ Gaza/

Hamas security attacks citizens in Gaza strip following movement to popular protest against high prices and tax hikes, which started a few days ago.

Eyewitnesses and social media videos showed Hamas security forces violently attacking citizens who took part in the movement and taking them into custody.

In addition, security forces raided homes in Gaza City and Jabaliya refugee camp in the north, Deir al-Balah in the center and Khan Younis and Rafah in the south.

Local media said that they also set up checkpoints on the roads and inspected cars and ID cards of passengers.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) said police officers beat up the Director of the Independent Commission of Human Rights (ICHR), lawyer Jamil Sarhan, and ICHR’s Lawyer Baker al-Turkmani while the two colleagues were following up the incidents in field in Deir al-Balah Refugee Camp in the central Gaza Strip.

PCHR emphasized that attacking peaceful protesters is a crime and violation according to the national and international laws and calls upon the security services to respect the right to peaceful assembly and right to freedom of expression.

PCHR emphasized that the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of opinion and expression is guaranteed in the Palestinian Basic Law and the international human rights standards and stresses that the right to peaceful assembly only requires a written notification to be sent to a Police Director or the Governor according to Article 3 of the Public Meetings Law 12/1998. Moreover, Violating this condition is not enough for dispersing the demonstration or arresting the organizers unless the demonstration included riots.

PCHR called upon the Attorney General to open a serious investigation into these incidents, including the attack on ICHR’s Director and his colleague, and bring the perpetrators into justice.

PCHR also called upon the security services to immediately and unconditionally release the dozens of arrestees, and called upon the competent authorities to take the necessary measures to stop such violations and respect civilians’ public freedoms that are guaranteed constitutionally and according to the international human rights standards.

Today as well, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, in a statement condemned the campaign of arrests and violence used by Hamas security forces against protesters, including women and children, in Gaza over the past three days.

“The long-suffering people of Gaza were protesting the dire economic situation and demanded an improvement in the quality of life in the Gaza Strip. It is their right to protest without fear of reprisal,” Mladenov said.

Mladenov called on all Palestinian factions to engage in earnest with Egypt in order to implement the Cairo Agreement (2017) in full.