Middle East News
Hundreds of Palestinians protest in West Bank
Feb 17, 2011, 11:48 GMT
Ramallah - Several hundred Palestinians marched in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Thursday, demanding an end to the divisions between the two major political parties, Fatah and Hamas.
'The people want an end to division,' some chanted.
Police, who had previously said they would ban demonstrations, did not intervene and allowed the protest to continue uninterrupted.
The protest was called for by a number of Palestinian groups who said they were fed up with the de-facto split between the West Bank, which is ruled by the Fatah-backed Palestinian Authority, and the Gaza Strip, ruled by the Islamist Hamas since June 2007.
Some Palestinians have decided to step up popular pressure on both Fatah and Hamas to end their differences and re-unite the country in light of the failure of the peace process.
The Palestinian Authority is also planning to hold long-overdue presidential and legislative elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by September, as well as local elections on July 9.
But President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday he would not be able to hold the elections without Gaza.
Hamas, which rose to power in the last elections held in 2006, has already said it will not allow elections in the Gaza Strip.
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