Dozens of gunmen, including off-duty Palestinian policemen, blocked two major roads in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, demanding vengeance for the killing of a policeman in a drug bust a week ago, the Palestinian Interior Ministry said.
The protests, which knotted traffic on Gaza’s two main north-south roads for about an hour, were the latest sign of a growing wave of chaos gripping the coastal strip ahead of Jan. 25 elections.
The protesters, who included relatives and former colleagues of the dead officer, demanded that Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, impose order in Gaza, and called for the resignation of the Palestinian minister of interior, Nasser Yousef.
One of the gunmen, identified as Abu Wasfi, said that they expect Abbas to arrest the killer, and execute them.
The gunmen voluntarily opened the roads after about an hour.
Meanwhile, Abbas has called for an end to the lawlessness. But his security forces, weakened by internal divisions and fighting with Israel, have been unable to restore order.
The officers, who blocked the roads, for one hour, said that they are members of the Al Aqsa Brigades, the military wing of Fateh movement.
The plainclothes officers said they are members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, a militant group linked to Abbas’ Fatah party.
The lawlessness, and chaos, has threatened to undermine the parliamentary vote, scheduled for January 25, and drive voters away from Fateh toward Hamas.
Some elements in Fateh have urged Abbas to cancel the election, until law and order is restored. Abbas has rejected the calls, saying a postponement would only intensify the chaos, Hamas movement also strongly apposes any delay in the elections especially after showing strong presence in the local councils elections.