Protests across West Bank

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Angry Palestinians on Tuesday took to the streets across the West Bank protesting the high cost of living and the ongoing price rise in the Palestinian market.

From Hebron in the south, to Jenin in the north, thousands of Palestinian citizens demonstrated against the rapid rise in prices of fuel and other basic products. Protestors called on the PA to abolish the Paris Economic Agreement “which rendered Palestinian economy subordinate to Israeli economy.”

In Hebron, demonstrators set fire to an effigy of prime minister Salam Fayyad. They chanted slogans demanding toppling Fayyad’s government and putting an end to the skyrocketing prices “which will increase poverty rates in Palestine.”

Earlier, dozens of taxis, bulldozers and public vehicles traveled from south to central Hebron to protest the rising cost of fuel. Hundreds of protesters joined the demonstration in the city center against the rising price of basic commodities.

A truck driver who joined the protest, Osamah Abu Mayyalah, told Ma’an that he could not provide his family with basic needs as his monthly salary is only 1,200 shekels.

Another truck driver, Rafiq Atawnah, said drivers would not stop their peaceful protests until prices and namely fuel prices go down.

A group of youth, “youth against high cost of living”, as well as a campaign called “raise your voice” and another campaign called “where are you taking us” asserted their protests are against the Israeli occupation. However, said some of the groups’ activists, because of the dire living conditions they had no choice but to take to the streets and protest against high cost of living, and urge the PA to abolish the Paris Economic Agreement.

Israeli forces arrested seven protestors who joined the mass rally in Hebron including a journalist. Othman Abu al-Halawah told Ma’an he and six others were detained. He identified the other detainees as Marwan al-Jamal, Jalal Gheith, Ayid Abu Romouz, and two others both named Muhammad Abu Sneinah. Israeli police, added Abu al-Halawah, accused the detainees of interrupting traffic on the bypass road known as route 60.

In Ramallah, a group of young people stopped their cars in the middle of the street protesting the high cost of living. The protestors closed the main street between Manara Square in the center of Ramallah and the Yasser Arafat Square near the PA security compound know as the Muqataa.

Some of the slogans Ramallah protestors waved were: “Fayyad! We are not egg-laying chickens”, “I can’t fuel my car, so Fayyad can take it”, “No to the government of indignity and hunger”, “until when will we continue to pay your expenses?” “We will not set ourselves ablaze for the sake of Fayyad”, “We were looking for Palestine, but now we are looking for a sack of flour.”

In Bethlehem, dozens toured the city closing several main streets to protest the high cost of living. Some were seen beating empty cooking pans.

Tariq Zuboun, an activist within a group of the organizers called “wake from your sleep!”, told Ma’an that demonstrators demand annulling the Paris Economic Agreement “which keeps the PA subordinate to Israel.”

“These popular activities do not follow any special or suspicious agendas as some people claim, but they are rather popular nationalistic activities,” head of the consumer protection association in Bethlehem lawyer Farid al-Atrash told Ma’an.
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