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Youth group: Hamas shut down unity protest

Feb. 28, 2011 10:19 P.M. (Updated: March 2, 2011 6:11 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Gaza government security officers on Monday detained four protesters at a demonstration calling for national unity in Gaza City, organizers said.

Nida Al-Watan (Call of Homeland), a Palestinian youth initiative, used online social networks to issue a call for demonstrations in Gaza and across the West Bank on February 28 to demand an end to the rivalry between Hamas and Fatah.

Only around 20 Palestinians, including journalists, responded to the call to gather in Gaza City's Unknown Soldier Square.

Coordinator Hassan Farahat said security forces ordered protesters carrying Palestinian flags and banners to leave the square. Officers in plain clothes detained one of the organizers, Ahmad Atawna, along with three other protesters, he added.

Farahat said the initiative notified the interior ministry of the protests in advance, but did not receive any reply.

He added that West Bank protests were not held because Palestinian Authority security forces summoned the coordinators of the initiative.

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