- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy
The Hamas-controlled government in Gaza allowed a demonstration today in support of the anti-Mubarak protesters in Egypt:
Nearly 1,000 Hamas supporters rallied in front of the Egyptian representative office in Gaza, waving Palestinian and Egyptian flags and chanting, "Mubarak, you must leave." Some carried banners in Arabic and English that read, "The Egyptian people want to change their regime, we must support and respect that."
One participant, Khalil Mohammed, 21, said Gazans and Egyptians "share the same concerns and the same interests as young men. This is a symbolic stand to show our solidarity."
Hamas security officials stood by and did not break up the protest.
As Mubarak’s governmnet has assisted Israel in maintaining the blockade of the Gaza Strip and has clamped down recently on the smuggling tunnels connecting the region to Sinai, Gazans certainly have reason to follow the events in Egypt closely.
On the West Bank, it was a very different story:
[P]olice quickly dispersed more than 100 people who gathered in downtown Ramallah in solidarity with the Egyptian people calling for Mubarak’s resignation, freelance journalist Mohammed Jaradat said.
Police detained him and three other people, Jaradat said, including a cameraman whose footage was confiscated. Some protesters said police roughed them up.
The incident came hours after a smaller pro-Mubarak demonstration in the same spot.
A reporter from The Associated Press saw about 10 protesters wait for cameramen and photographers to set up their gear, then chant support for Mubarak. They also called Egyptian pro-democracy advocate Mohamed ElBaradei a "coward and "an American collaborator."
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has reportedly instructed his security chiefs to clamp down on anti-Mubarak demonstrations.