Palestinian Youths Gear Up for March 15 Movements

14.03.11 – 14:33PNN – Palestine News Network

Ghassan Bannoura – PNN/Exclusive – Hours before protests were set to start across Palestine, organizers of the March 15 Youth Coalition reiterated that they are working independently, away from the influence of political factions.

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“People Demand Unity” – PNN Photos

The coalition movement has called for national unity rallies in Gaza City, Ramallah and other Palestinian cities, as well as Cairo, Beirut and 27 other cities across Europe and the United States.

“I estimate that around 20,000 people will join the protest in Gaza City tomorrow,” said Hassan Farahat, an organizer with the coalition. “We set up committees to deal with different logistics. The one I am responsible for is the order committee to make sure all participants carry the Palestinian flag only. People are sick and tired of the Hamas-Fatah division, so we will continue to protest until national unity is achieved.”

Fatah and Hamas have been at loggerheads since Hamas ended months of bloody infighting with Fatah in 2006 and took control of the Gaza Strip, leaving Fatah in control of the West Bank.

The March 15 Youth Coalition is organizing the protests demanding an end to Palestinian division, tweaks in the status quo, and the formation of a democratic Palestinian National Council (PNC) that would guarantee equal representation on a one-person-one-vote basis for all Palestinians around the world (the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Israel, and in the diaspora).  Last week the coalition sent out a press release condemning Palestinian political groups’ and NGOs’ attempts to co-opt the movement and use it for their agendas.

Hazem Abu Hilal, an organizer in Ramallah, told PNN, “We are still independent. Youth groups are working for tomorrow protest as independent movement away from political groups. Our demands are still the same: elections and national unity.”

Abu Hilal said that political groups are still working to co-opt the protest and use it to promote their agendas, but he said he hoped the youth movement would succeed of unifying the Palestinian people.
“We expect political groups to show up,” said Abu Hilal. “They are now rallying for the event after they failed to stop it. We will be making the same demands we announced. If anybody makes other demands they will be representing themselves and not us.

Palestinians are also expected to demonstrate as far abroad as Europe and the United States. Raya Ziada, a student in London, told PNN, “Palestinian students and groups in the UK are organizing to protests tomorrow in solidarity with coalition and supporting their demands. So far the protest in London will be in front of the Palestinian mission office and other actions will be organized in different locations.”

According to the coalition organizers in both Gaza and the West Bank, Palestinian security officals promised them that police and other forces would not stop the protests.


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