Thousands take to streets in Gaza in rare public display of discontent with Hamas

by Chloe Baker
Gaza protests

In an unusual display of public dissatisfaction with Hamas, several thousands of individuals across the Gaza Strip marched in protest on Sunday, expressing their frustration over persistent power shortages and challenging living circumstances. The gatherings, however, were rapidly dispersed by Hamas security forces.

Demonstrations occurred in multiple locations including Gaza City and the southern town of Khan Younis, with protesters voicing their criticism and in one instance, setting fire to Hamas flags, prior to the police intervention to dissolve the protests.

During the protests in Khan Younis, police reportedly destroyed mobile devices belonging to those capturing the events, and several arrests were made according to eyewitnesses. In a brief confrontation, young proponents and adversaries of Hamas hurled stones at each other.

These demonstrations were spearheaded by a grassroots cyber movement known as “alvirus alsakher,” or “the mocking virus.” The identity of those leading this movement remains unknown.

Hamas, known for its stringent rule in Gaza, suppresses most protests and swiftly quashes signs of public disapproval.

In 2007, the Islamic militant group ousted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ forces to take control over Gaza. This triggered a harsh blockade on the territory by Israel and Egypt. Israel insists that the blockade is necessary to inhibit Hamas, who denies Israel’s right to exist, from expanding its military strength.

The imposed closure has caused severe damage to Gaza’s economy, skyrocketing unemployment, and recurring power blackouts. Amid the current heatwave, residents are receiving only four to six hours of electricity per day due to the overwhelming demand.

Crowds in Khan Younis yelled out questions about the location of electricity and gas, expressing their dismay repeatedly.

The protesters also condemned Hamas for subtracting a fee of approximately $15 from the $100 monthly allowances granted to Gaza’s poorest families by the affluent Gulf state of Qatar.

As of now, there has been no immediate response from the Hamas authorities.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Gaza protests

What were the people in Gaza protesting about?

The protests were primarily about the chronic power outages and the challenging living conditions that the people in Gaza are facing.

Who is the current ruling power in Gaza?

Hamas, an Islamic militant group, is the current ruling power in Gaza. They seized control from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ forces in 2007.

How did the Hamas security forces respond to the protests?

The Hamas security forces responded swiftly and forcefully, dispersing the crowds and making several arrests. They even destroyed mobile phones of individuals who were filming the events.

Who organized the protests in Gaza?

The protests were organized by a grassroots online movement known as “alvirus alsakher,” or “the mocking virus.” The identities of the people behind this movement are not known yet.

How has the Israeli-Egyptian blockade affected Gaza’s economy?

The blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt has significantly impacted Gaza’s economy. It has resulted in skyrocketing unemployment and frequent power outages.

How is the current heat wave affecting the power situation in Gaza?

Amid the current heatwave, the power situation has worsened, with residents receiving only four to six hours of electricity per day due to the high demand.

What was the crowd’s specific grievance about the stipends given by Qatar?

The crowd criticized Hamas for deducting around $15 from the $100 monthly allowances provided to Gaza’s poorest families by Qatar.

More about Gaza protests

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Leila_R July 31, 2023 - 6:58 am

deducting 15 bucks from 100! Thats just not right. The people already suffering and now this… Hamas need to step up their game.

Ahmed_K July 31, 2023 - 9:50 am

Woah… didn’t see this coming. People rising up against Hamas, that’s something. Not like their lives r easy with all the power outages n stuff…

Jonas_D July 31, 2023 - 10:45 am

Intense. Protesting in Gaza… that takes guts. Hope they all stay safe. Also, where’s the statement from Hamas?? They owe the people an explanation.

Sarah_J July 31, 2023 - 7:16 pm

This is heartbreaking. No one should live under these conditions. Power for only 4-6 hours a day in a heatwave, unimaginable!

Michael_67 August 1, 2023 - 1:25 am

I wonder who’s behind that online movement… sure seems like they’ve had enough of Hamas. And to think Israel n Egypt still have them blockaded.


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