Gaza journalists demand end to Hamas assaults

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories - Palestinian journalists in the Gaza Strip protested to the territory’s Hamas rulers on Saturday after security forces assaulted a local TV cameraman.

By (AFP)

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Sun 20 Mar 2011, 12:06 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 9:24 AM

A delegation met Hamas’s interior minister, Fathi Hammad, and officials of the government press office after police stormed the local office of international news agency Reuters and broke the hand of Palestinian cameraman Abed Shanna, who was filming from the roof of the building.

Colleagues said police were seeking to stop him recording images of security forces in a square below breaking up a protest by youngsters calling for reconciliation between rivals Hamas and Fatah, which controls the West Bank.

The local journalists’ union said police in the square harassed news photographers and confiscated materials and equipment.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement after the meeting between journalists and Hammad that the Islamist movement pledged to prevent a repetition of such actions

“The Hamas movement condemns aggression against journalists and media in Gaza,” it said.

“Aggression against journalists is unacceptable and we are asking the government to set up immediately a committee of inquiry and to stop all aggression against journalists.”

On Tuesday, tens of thousands of people took to the streets of the Palestinian territories to demand that Hamas and Fatah end their bitter enmity.

But despite leaders of the two movements agreeing to meet to talk, the Islamist group has since used force and threatening acts to disperse several follow-up demonstrations in Gaza.

New York-based watchdog Human Rights Watch on Saturday called on Hamas to punish those responsible for violence against protesters.

“It is a dismal reflection on Hamas that it is violently cracking down on peaceful demonstrators calling for political reconciliation,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, the organisation’s Middle East director.

“This is just the latest instance of Hamas assaulting Palestinians’ fundamental freedoms,” it said, citing testimony of protesters and bystanders who said security forces used batons and cattle-prods, fired into the air and rode motorcycles at people.

“Local authorities aren’t fooling anyone by hiding behind thugs who assault protesters,” it said. “The Palestinian people deserve leaders, whether Hamas or the Palestinian Authority, who will respect their basic rights.”

More news from