The Palestinian police in Ramallah forcefully dispersed Tuesday a rally against the Annapolis Conference. The protest was organized by opposition groups and headed by the Popular Front.
The rally, attended by several hundred people, was violently broken up by dozens of policemen beating people with sticks and firing tear gas.
Rally in Ramallah (Photo: AFP)
A Palestinian source told Ynet that the Palestinian Authority decided to act against the protest due to concerns that Hamas would attempt to use the event to fuel riots in the city.
"There was no intention to violate the protestors' democratic rights, but we opted for public order," he explained.
Recently, concerns have been growing among the PA as to the possibility that Hamas may try using the Annapolis peace conference for its own advantage, and try to garner support in the West Bank through demonstrations and rallies.
Meanwhile, Ynet has learned Tuesday that the IDF arrested this week a number of Fatah operatives, including some Gaza residents, who moved to the West Bank after Hamas' takeover of the Gaza Strip in June.
The operatives were arrested on suspicion they served as secret Hamas agents in the region, and attempted to establish military infrastructure for the organization in the Ramallah area.
In recent weeks, Hamas has been repeatedly declaring it plans to take over the government compound in Ramallah, and although Fatah believes that the Islamic groups did not yet have the capacity to do so, its obvious intentions were indicative of potential future conflicts.