Hamas quashes Gaza demonstrations, but protest persists

Gaza has seen regular protests along the Israeli border for the past year, but new demonstrations in recent days have been much less to the liking of the Strip’s rulers, Hamas.

Over the course of several days beginning last week, hundreds of Palestinians gathered in multiple locations in protests against rising prices and in opposition to the Islamist group, which has controlled Gaza since 2007.

Hamas security forces cracked down harshly, beating protesters and arresting hundreds, rights groups say.

Demonstrations have since petered out, though organizers have called for fresh rallies in the coming days.

United Nations envoy Nickolay Mladenov on Sunday condemned a “campaign of arrests and violence” by Hamas security forces.

“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,” said Mladenov, envoy to Israel and the Palestinian territories.

The protests are a rare internal challenge to Hamas, which has fought three wars with Israel since 2008.

Read More: Times of Israel