Ramallah: Hunger strikers declare pause

March 17, 2011

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — A core group of protesters from the March 15 coalition, including 10 hunger strikers decided Thursday morning to put on hold a hunger strike, as Fatah and Hamas leaders prepared to meet in Gaza.

The March 15 Movement organizers told Ma’an that their calls for unity would continue, in the form of a sit-in at Ramallah’s Manara Circle.

“We will host art events to avoid being dragged into violence,” one organizer told Ma’an.

The group said several attempts at hijacking the events had occurred over the previous day, with groups handing out unofficial press releases at the protest site. Organizers said the information sheets criticized Hamas. “That is not the purpose of our protest,” one official said.

Organizers said they would announce the agenda for the day’s activity at a news conference at 10 a.m.

The March 15 Movement is a coalition of youth groups from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which have organized mass protests since Tuesday, which call for the end of Palestinian political division.

Following the first day of events Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh invited Fatah leader and President Mahmoud Abbas to Gaza for talks, an invitation Abbas accepted, saying he would go only to make a deal, not for continued negotiations.

Abbas called on Gaza officials to make the preparations for this trip.

After the Tuesday launch of protests, which saw hundreds of thousands gather in Gaza City and some 3,000 in Ramallah, smaller demonstrations continued in both locations.

See Palestine Live Report for coverage of Wednesdays demonstrations.


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