GAZA CITY - A Facebook group created by anonymous people is calling on Palestinians to take part in a mass protest against Hamas in the Gaza Strip tomorrow.
The page, titled Honour Revolution (Thauret al-Karama, in Arabic ), is urging Gazans to take to the street after Muslim Friday prayers to topple the de-facto government of the Islamist movement.
"The young people of the beloved Gaza Strip will carry out a grand act that will change the face of history," a message posted on the page reads. "We derived our inspiration from the revolutions in green Tunisia and Egypt of the pharaohs, which joined the struggle for freedom," it says.
By yesterday afternoon, 2,338 people had joined the group, whose stated aim is to end the split between Gaza and the West Bank, which came about in June 2007 after Hamas seized sole control of the Strip.
Eighteen months prior to that, Hamas won parliamentary elections, sparking a fierce power struggle with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his secular Fatah party.
The Facebook page, in Arabic only, appealed to the Hamas security forces not to use violence against the demonstrators.
"We will go out to end the split and gain back our national unity in a peaceful way. Our message to you: Don't cover your hands with our pure blood," the group said. "Don't obey your masters, the owners of the villas, the apartments, the lands, the cars and the jeeps."
The group added that the protests throughout Gaza would be a "pure popular revolution" of all political affiliations.
"It is the revolution of the mosques, the churches, the factories, the universities, the schools, the unemployed and the Internet cafes," organizers declared.
Fatah supporters were said to be among those Facebook users who launched the initiative.
Unsure of effectiveness
Observers in Gaza and the West Bank said they were unsure whether the call would mobilize huge numbers of protesters, adding that Gazans were afraid of Hamas' security apparatus, which has acted harshly against critics and has allegedly beaten up arrestees badly.
On Tuesday, the group Human Rights Watch said Hamas authorities in Gaza had quashed a solidarity demonstration with Egypt last week.
The international watchdog reported that police arbitrarily arrested six women and threatened to arrest another 20 people as soon as they arrived at the Park of the Unknown Soldier in Gaza City.
HRW said Abbas' Palestinian Authority police also used violence against peaceful demonstrators in the central West Bank city of Ramallah last week, by punching, kicking and detaining participants, as well as at least two journalists and an HRW research assistant.
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