Gazans Take to the Streets in Rare Protest Against High Cost of Living

Videos circulating on social media showed Hamas police officers shooting, beating and arresting protesters, as well as detaining journalists and human rights activists

The protests in Gaza against high cost of living, March 15, 2019.

For the second day in a row, Gazans took to the streets Friday in protest against the Hamas government over to the high cost of living in the Strip, with demonstrations taking place in Khan Yunis, Rafah, Dir al-Balah and several refugee camps.

Videos circulating on social media showed Hamas police officers shooting, beating and arresting protesters, as well as detaining journalists and human rights activists. A statement from a Gazan youth group called for a general strike on Saturday in response.

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Senior Hamas officials, along with members of other factions in the Strip, called on the regime to meet the protesters' demands. Yahya Moussa, a member of the organization's politburo, defined the protest as legitimate and said Hamas should relinquish civilian control of the Strip, conducting solely as a resistance movement to the Israeli occupation.

Hamas spokesman Hazem Kassem, referring to the demonstrations indirectly, said it was Palestinian Authority sanctions on the Strip are to blame for its state, and that PA President Mahmoud Abbas bears the responsibility.

The protests in Gaza against high cost of living, March 15, 2019.

The PA expressed support for the demonstrations as an appropriate response to the "oppressive regime of Hamas," while Hamas claimed the protests were organized by political factors seeking to sow chaos that they are trying to prevent.

On Thursday night, the Israeli army attacked some 100 targets in Gaza in response to two rockets being fired at Tel Aviv from the Strip earlier that evening, a first since the 2014 war. According to a preliminary army assessment, the rockets were fired at Tel Aviv by mistake during maintenance work.