Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces fired stun grenades and tear gas to disperse a rare anti-government protest in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, on Wednesday, as hundreds demonstrated against Palestinian punitive measures against the Gaza Strip.
According to local PNN sources, dozens were beaten and detained, including foreign journalists, in the quelling of the demonstration.
The protest was held in defiance of a temporary ban on demonstrations announced earlier on Wednesday, by the PA government.
The protesters were demanding that PA president Mahmoud Abbas drop measures against Gaza, which critics say amount to collective punishment of the two million residents there.
The decision to ban protests in Ramallah came after a Sunday demonstration in which some 500 Palestinians called for an end to the Gaza measures.
A statement from WAFA, on Wednesday, cited the Muslim Eid festival, which is expected to begin on Friday, as justification for the ban.
There was no immediate confirmation on the number of arrests and injuries, but AFP correspondence saw a number of people being detained.
Organizers denied that the march was pro-Hamas, instead stressing that it was in favor of Palestinian political unity and ending the decade-long split.
After the protesters were dispersed, organizers pledged to hold fresh rallies, over the coming days, in a new challenge to the ailing and unpopular Palestinian leader.
Late on Tuesday night, the PA Council of Ministers released a statement condemning the protests and placing sole blame on Hamas – the governing body in the Gaza Strip – for the dire situation Gazans now face.