GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Popular protests in Gaza in mid-September were met with repression by the police, who detained demonstrators and dispersed gatherings, sparking outrage among human rights organizations, which demanded that the security forces abide by the law and respect the people’s right to protest and peaceably assemble.
Massive protests Sept. 12-14 were triggered by ongoing chronic power outages. Gaza experienced an increase in power cuts this summer, with most residents only receiving four to six hours of electricity a day. Although Gazans have endured frequent blackouts for years, the sweltering summer temperatures and unfulfilled promises of increased fuel imports to operate the local power plant have pushed locals to take to the streets. The protesters blame President Mahmoud Abbas, the consensus government as well as Hamas and Fatah for the situation and are demanding that the parties separate their political bickering from the electricity crisis paralyzing all aspects of life in Gaza.