Activists: Hunger-striker hospitalized in Ramallah


April 3, 2011

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — A hunger-striker protesting for Palestinian reconciliation in central Ramallah, Alaa Qdimat, 21, fainted late Saturday and was taken to the Red Crescent hospital, activists said.

Protesters said Palestinian Authority police went to the hospital and took Qdimat to an investigation room to question him, despite his deteriorating health.

Qdimat said police interrogated him for over an hour, questioning him about the purpose of the hunger strike and threatening to arrest him as a “security risk.”

He said police also asked him who was behind the protests, and who was paying the strikers.

“The 21 days that we have been here prove that no-one is behind us and no-one is paying us,” Qdimat said.

“We are still committed to go all the way,” he added.

After his interrogation, Qdimat was released from the hospital and he returned to the protest tent in Ramallah’s Al-Manara square.

Protesters have been sleeping in Al-Manara square since mid-March demanding Palestinian elections to end the division between the Hamas-run Gaza Strip and the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

A group of demonstrators have been on hunger-strike for eight days demanding that Hamas and Fatah take immediate steps toward national unity by releasing political prisoners and ending incitement against each other in the media.

Thousands gathered in the square on March 15 and protests have continued since then, in Ramallah and in cities across the West Bank.

The March 15 youth movement says it is not affiliated to any political faction, and raises only Palestinian flags at rallies. However several protests have been disrupted by youth affiliated to Fatah.

On Wednesday a group of Palestinians attacked the protest tent. The incident occurred just after Fatah won the nearby Birzeit University’s student senate election.

March 15 youth said that sleeping bags, a first aid kit and 30 books were stolen in the attack by Fatah youth celebrating their win.

On Friday in Qalqiliya, Fatah supporters attacked and injured three pro-unity protesters, activists said.

Protesters in Ramallah have organized concerts and art events “to avoid being dragged into violence.”

On Saturday, the Tamer Institute brought books to the tent and organized a reading hour, circus acts entertained protesters and the Hakawati theater group performed in the square.

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