The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Hamas bans protests in Gaza without its okay

Two questions about the story below: 1) While remembering that many governments, even in democratic countries, require demonstrations to be registered for public safety reasons, is this merely an attempt to control the situation in a chaotic area (and where certain clans may be still be bitter about Fatah's defeat) or is Hamas taking the Mubarak approach to public protests? And 2) is it Hamas who is in charge of Gaza, or Executive Force?

Hamas bans protests in Gaza without its okay:

GAZA CITY (AFP) - Hamas announced on Monday it was banning demonstrations in the Gaza Strip without authorisation from the Islamist movement which has ruled the territory for nearly two months.

"In the interest of the general public, to preserve security and with an eye to the law, all demonstrations are categorically forbidden without the offical authorisation of the Executive Force," spokesman Saber al-Khalifa told AFP.

He was referring to the paramilitary that has acted as police since Hamas overran forces loyal to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in Gaza in mid-June.

"This measure aims to preserve security and will guarantee that gunshots will not be fired. Above all, it will permit us to protect these demonstrations with our patrols," Khalifa said.

The move marked the latest clampdown on dissent by the Islamists since they seized power in the impoverished territory on June 15 after days of bloody gunbattles with the rival Fatah party.

Hamas has closed the pro-Fatah public television, radio station and news agency and today controls all electronic media in Gaza, except for one radio station linked to the small Islamic Jihad group