Ramallah crowds to welcome Abbas

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Ramallah crowds to welcome Abbas

Palestinians were gathering in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday to offer a hero’s welcome to their president as he returns from submitting a historic UN membership bid.

By (AFP)

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Published: Sun 25 Sep 2011, 3:35 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 9:43 AM

President Mahmud Abbas was expected to arrive in the city, political capital of the West Bank, at around 1100 GMT, but local unions and the campaign that backed the membership bid called on supporters to begin gathering hours before.

A welcome party was planned at the Muqataa, the presidential headquarters in the city, and a stage was set up next to the grave of former president Yasser Arafat inside the compound.

The Palestinian workers’ union called on its members to join the celebrations, and government offices were expected to close early to allow employees to attend.

And both state television and the state-run news agency WAFA called on the public to mass at the Muqataa.

Abbas is experiencing an unprecedented boost in popularity after delivering a request earlier this week that the United Nations admit Palestine as a full member state.

His address to the UN General Assembly, delivered shortly after he formally submitted the bid, was broadcast live on big screens set up in the centres of major West Bank cities.

Crowds cheered the unassuming leader, and he received rave reviews in the Palestinian media the next day, with commentators hailing his “brave” address and his courage in delivering the bid despite US and Israeli opposition.

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