UN envoy: Hamas has suppressed the Gaza demonstrations

An empty seat is pictured before a news conference at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, May 15, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

UNITED NATIONS/GAZA (VOP TODAY NEWS) — A UN envoy on Sunday condemned Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and accused its security forces of cracking down on violent protests in the Gaza Strip.

Since Thursday, hundreds of Palestinians have demonstrated at several sites in the Gaza Strip to protest against the high cost of living.

Security forces used violence to disperse the demonstrators and arrested dozens, including journalists and human rights activists, according to human rights groups.

“I strongly condemn the campaign of arrests and violence used by Hamas security forces against demonstrators, including women and children, in Gaza over the past three days,” UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nikolai Mladenov said in a statement.

“I am particularly concerned about the brutal beatings of journalists and staff of the Independent Commission on Human Rights and the raiding of homes,” he said.

“The long-suffering people of Gaza protested against the painful economic situation and called for improving the quality of life in the Gaza Strip,” he said.

Hamas, which has controlled Gaza since its rival Fatah was ousted in 2007, has yet to comment on Mladenov’s accusations.

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