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Boy's death ignites rare anti-Hamas protests in Gaza

By Nidal al-Mughrabi
At least 500 protesters in the Gaza Strip have called for the overthrow of the ruling Hamas government in a rare demonstration triggered by the death of a three-year-old boy in a fire during a power outage.

Protesters in the Bureij refugee camp, where the boy's family live, called for Hamas to be toppled and chanted "The people want to down the regime" late on Tuesday night, echoing slogans adopted in Arab revolutions in neighboring countries. The police swiftly dispersed the crowd.

Demonstrators took to the streets as the boy's body was being moved to a hospital, saying they were protesting against the incompetent way Hamas ruled Gaza. Anger spilled over after the boy died and his infant sister suffered critical burns when a candle lit amid a power outage burnt their house down.

Anti-Hamas protests in Gaza, where power failures have left households with just six hours of electricity a day since February, are extremely rare. Three children were killed earlier in the year by similar fires during an outage.

Hamas blames the electricity shortages on Egypt which it says is restricting the flow of fuel, and on Israel, which imposed a blockade on the coastal enclave in 2007 when Hamas seized control from the Western-backed Fatah.

More protests?

The dead boy's father called for more protests, saying he hoped a healing of internal Palestinian political rifts could ease the Strip's problems.

"I call on people to take to the streets and not to fear being clubbed by policemen," Abdel-Fattah Al-Baghdadi, 23, told Reuters.

"I hold both the governments in Gaza and in the West Bank responsible for what happened to us," he said.

Earning 1,250 shekels ($318) a month from working as a civil guard at the Religious Affairs Ministry, he said he had been using candles to light his house during blackouts because he could not afford to buy a generator or fuel.

"Besides my wife and two children, I had to spend money to help my bigger family," he said.

Taher al-Nono, a spokesman for the Hamas government in Gaza, said the death of Baghdadi's son was a message to Egypt that it had to speed up its promised efforts to help solve the power crisis in Gaza.

"The international community's silence is an accomplice in the crime of blockading Gaza," Nono said in a statement.

Hamas is sensitive to criticism and has looked on with concern as protests in the Israeli-occupied West Bank against high prices have spread in the past few weeks, fearing they may spill over into its own territory.

Hamas has banned protests, including any demonstrations calling for an end to divisions between it and Fatah.

On Tuesday, police in Gaza dispersed what they said was an unlicensed rally organized by dozens of women calling for unity between Gaza and the West Bank.

Added: Sep-26-2012 Occurred On: Sep-26-2012
By: aydeo
Other Middle East
Tags: Gaza Strip, Rare protest, Anti- Hamas
Views: 1262 | Comments: 11 | Votes: 0 | Favorites: 0 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 1
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  • Stop Hamas now!! Before its too late!!

    This is just the tip of the iceberg of what's to come!

    Posted Sep-26-2012 By 

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  • Comment of user 'wargypzy' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • best thing to happen is for IDF to go in there and liquidate hamas, but they can't do that due to the international pressure from all the muslim-loving countries.

    Posted Sep-27-2012 By 

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  • Muslims hate it when little children die that young. Another 3 or 4 years and the boy would have been a perfectly good martyr.

    Posted Sep-27-2012 By 

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  • Israel could easily sell any amount of electricity to Gaza. In fact it does sell some.

    However Gaza knows only too well that Israeli policy is to cut electricity randomly or in response to a 'provocation' as a means of collective punishment for the Gazans.

    Israel has also bombed Gazan generating stations and presently only one is left working, so the issue of fuel restrictions is less important than it sounds.

    Overall Gaza is screwed by people who consider it to be a convenient concentration More..

    Posted Sep-26-2012 By 

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    • @DEADBEEF " Israel could easily sell any amount of electricity to Gaza."

      Instead they gave gaza working power plants and greenhouses which the palestinians immediately tore down. Fucking joos...

      Posted Sep-27-2012 By 

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    • @dmarlow310

      What utter crap!

      I'm a member of IEEE and they did a really good story on how Israel bombed the Gaza power plants. The Gazans did not in any way destroy the power-plants.

      The greenhouses were mostly destroyed by the settlers before they left. A small number of the rest got looted by farmers for their agricultural equipment - despite P.A. attempts to stop them.

      Posted Sep-27-2012 By 

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