Palestine: Protests for National Unity

Independent youth in Palestine called for protests in Gaza and the West Bank on March 15, 2011, showing their loyalty to Palestine rather than to Hamas and Fatah. Organized through Facebook, thousands gathered in al-Katibah Square in Gaza City.

It was notable that only Palestinian flags flew – flags of Hamas were reportedly absent. Later, Hamas forces broke up the protests with force, and several people were hospitalized.

Omar Ghraeib wrote about his experiences at Katibah Square in Gaza:

Today was epic, protesters gathered at al katibah and created a human chain and then moved to al jundi l majhool square and everything was fine till Hamas supporters showed up. They wanted to take over by gathering at al jundi al majhool square holding Hamas flags, protesters resented that and tried to let them understand that #March15 movement is purely youth without any political background or political preference.

Light clashes occured between both groups, they exchanged throwing rocks at each other and some verbal profanities till the youth decided to leave al jundi sqaure and head back to al katibah because they arent looking for trouble. The atmosphere was buzzing and amazing there, many youth joined and many were coming every minute. Every one chanting, dancing and singing. The weather was awesome.

I left to upload the pics and video I took because I lost my connection at al katiba, minutes later i heard that Hamas was warning everybody to leave alkatibah before 5 pm so as to not to risk epmtying al katibah by force. People ignored the warning and started flowing to al katibah and planned a sit-in and a sleep-in.

at 7 pm something weird was happening, I started hearing sirens then gunshots then people screaming and running in all directions. (I live near al katibah) Things got ugly and Hamas ended up emptying al katibah by force, many protesters were injured.

Youtube vid before the attacks:

Abuel Sharif reflected on the protests:

the situation in Palestine isn’t natural, division isn’t natural, having my own brother as an enemy isn’t natural, it saddens me to say that the days were Israel was occupying Palestine were the normal ones, if no, we didn’t live in a normal situation ever !

Omar Ghraeib also uploaded a series of photos:

Gaza revolts 2011, day 2! Youth moved 2 al katiba! Posted by Twitpic user Omar_Gaza.

Gaza revolts 2011, day 2! Youth moved 2 al katiba! Posted by Twitpic user Omar_Gaza.

On March 15, Ghonaim uploaded a video of protesters in Katiba being dispersed:

Thousands returned to the streets on Wednesday, March 16. Tweeps reported that these protests were again met with violence from Hamas supporters.

Omar tweeted:

@Omar_Gaza: Protesters (both genders) sieged at al azhar university r being attacked and beaten up! allah ma3ko

Laila Abu Dahi similarly tweeted:

@LailaDahi: #video Hamas forces attacking female students in Al-Azhar uni. while male students tryin to protect them #Mar15

@AmoonaE uploaded this video on March 16, showing Al-Azhar students being hit by attackers armed with bats:

Palestinians in Ramallah also joined in demonstrations for national unity on March 15, demonstrating independence from Fatah. Twitter user @Palestinevoiced provided ongoing updates:

@Palestinevoiced: over 2,000 protesters on Manara Square of Ramallah right now. #Palestine #mar15

Shortly adding, in reference to Fatah's yellow flags:

Fateh rolls in with protesters 30 minutes ago. (no yellow falgs [flags] at least). #Palestine #mar15

Followed by:

Fatah supporters attempt to break sit down by independent youth groups #Palestine #mar15

Protests continued on to March 16 and by 8pm were still ongoing according to @Palestinevoiced:

Around 200 hundred protesters in Ramallah! #Palestine #mar15

Demonstrations on the night of the 16 March appear to be peaceful:

Police distribute food and drinks to protesters in Ramallah NOW. Its obvious they want to play along. #Palestine #mar15

@NalanSarraj, @Omar_Gaza, @LailaDahi, and @nazek88 are tweeting live from Gaza. @Palestinevoiced and @Palestine15Mar are tweeting from Ramallah, and @AmoonaE is compiling tweets and media from other tweeps across Palestine.


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