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Palestinians rally in Ramallah against Gaza sanctions

PALESTINIANS RALLY IN RAMALLAH AGAINST GAZA SANCTIONS

Dozens of Palestinians staged a protest in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday to demand lifting sanctions imposed by the Palestinian Authority on the Gaza Strip.

"The Palestinian people call for ending the sanctions to strengthen Palestinian steadfastness and restore our unity," Omar Assaf, an activist, told Anadolu Agency.

"President [Mahmoud] Abbas and Prime Minister [Rami Hamdallah] are urged to lift the sanctions immediately," he said.

Tuesday's rally, held in central Ramallah, was called by the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network.

Last year, Abbas took a number of punitive measures as a way of piling pressure on Hamas to relinquish its control of the Gaza Strip.

The measures included cutting the salaries of Gaza-based employees by 30 percent, reducing the provision of electricity to the territory, and the forced retirement of around 6,000 employees.

Last month, the Palestinian National Council decided to lift the sanctions imposed on Gaza.

"We will stage a sit-in outside the headquarters of the Palestinian president soon until the sanctions are lifted," Khaled Mansour, a member of the Palestinian People's Party, said.

Rival Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah have been at odds since 2007 when Hamas seized control of Gaza after days of street fighting with security forces of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority.

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