Hamas forces break up electricity crisis protests

Hamas security forces broke up a protest in the northern Gaza Strip Thursday, an AFP photographer and witnesses said, as thousands took to the streets over an ongoing electricity crisis. The demonstrators gathered in the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza for a march, with attendees carrying signs and chanting slogans including "We want electricity". They headed to the headquarters...

al-monitor Palestinians take part in a protest against the ongoing electricity shortages in Gaza City on January 12, 2017 Photo by MOHAMMED ABED/AFP.

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Jan 12, 2017

Hamas security forces broke up a protest in the northern Gaza Strip Thursday, an AFP photographer and witnesses said, as thousands took to the streets over an ongoing electricity crisis.

The demonstrators gathered in the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza for a march, with attendees carrying signs and chanting slogans including "We want electricity".

They headed to the headquarters of the state-run electricity company in northern Gaza, but Hamas security forces fired live ammunition in the air and dispersed them with batons, said an AFP photographer who was injured in the head.

A number of marchers threw stones at the building, he added.

Iyad al-Bozum, a spokesman for the Hamas-run interior ministry, told AFP the march spilt onto the street of the camp "naturally" but that security forces stepped in when "rioting" started.

Gaza has seen near daily protests in recent days over power shortages.

The more than two millions residents of Gaza have been receiving just four hours a day of electricity since the end of last year, as opposed to normal alternating eight-hour cycles.

The Islamist Hamas has controlled the tiny Palestinian strip, sandwiched between Israel and Egypt, since 2007.