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Palestinian protesters assaulted, journalists questioned in Gaza

(ANHRI/IFEX) - 7 November 2012 - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemns the assaults committed by police officers of the Hamas government against peaceful protesters that were marching in the Gaza Strip on 6 November 2012 calling for an end to the political division between Fatah and Hamas.

The majority of the protesters at the march, which is organized weekly in front of the legislative council of Palestine in Gaza, were women. On that particular day, the Hamas police force dispatched police women to break up the demonstration; they were later joined by male officers and men in civil clothing. Batons were used to assault the protesters.

The Gaza Strip has been the scene of frequent attacks by Hamas authorities on freedom of the press. Some journalists have been prevented from practicing their work, others have found their movement restricted as they were prevented from leaving Gaza to participate in events related to their profession elsewhere or to complete their studies.

On 31 October 2012, three journalists were prevented from passing the Rafah cross road. Maged Shablak, a correspondent for the Egyptian TV and his wife Hanan Abu Dogem, a journalist, were planning to attend a conference on the "future vision for Arab media and civil society organizations" but couldn't pass through.

Shablak was interrogated at Rafah by the internal security forces. They told him his wife is banned from travelling due to allegations of non-coordination with the government's media office and the syndicate. Salim Breem, the third person banned from travelling that day, was interrogated as well. He told the forces he was on his way to Egypt to continue his post-graduation studies. But, they refused to let him travel.

"The Gaza Strip has been recently witnessing an increase in the rate of violations conducted by the Hamas government bodies, proven through various assaults against the rights and freedoms of its citizens," said ANHRI."

ANHRI calls on Hamas to stop its repressive practices against freedom of opinion, expression and the media. "The people of Palestine in Gaza, who suffer under the occupation and the siege, should not suffer more because of the repressive activities of the authority," said ANHRI.

The organization also said that Hamas should direct its efforts towards alleviating the daily suffering of the people and work towards ending the siege instead of wasting time acting as an authoritarian government on occupied lands without sovereignty.

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