Hamas rallies in Gaza against Abbas call for early elections
dpa German Press Agency
Saturday December 16, 2006
Gaza- Tens of thousands of Hamas supporters and members took to the streets in Gaza city Saturday evening in protest against President Mahmoud Abbas' call for early elections. Armed confrontations erupted in Gaza City between Hamas militants and Palestinian security forces, and witnesses said that at least two Palestinians were injured, and one policeman was kidnapped.
Shouting slogans against the Palestinian President and Mohammed Dahlan, a senior Fatah leader, the crowds gathered from all mosques and went to rally in front of the Hamas-dominated parliament, also known as the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC).
"PLC go go and last for four years," the crowds shouted. Another group shouted "Abbas and Dahlan you are the spies of Americans."
Hamas accuses Dahlan of being behind a recent shooting at Prime Minister Ismail Haniya of Hamas.
In Kahn Youis, in the southern Gaza Strip, Palestinian medics reported that at least four Palestinians were shot and wounded during armed confrontations between militants from the rival Hamas and Fatah movements.
The demonstrations were held in spite of calls by Deputy Prime Minister Nasser al-Sha'er who called for public restraint after Abbas announced his decision.
Meanwhile, Abbas' Fatah movement cancelled planned rallies in support of the president's call for early elections, in a bid to avoid clashes between Fatah supporters and Hamas loyalists.
The Hamas-led government took office in March tow months after it won parliamentary polls.
They see Abbas' decision to call early elections as a coup against the Hamas-led government. Hamas had defeated Fatah in January's parliamentary election.
© 2006 dpa German Press Agency