Gaza (AsiaNews) - Thousands of young people in the Gaza Strip are preparing to march in the streets of its cities to protest against the "dictatorship of terror" imposed by Hamas. The rally is set for next Monday, 11 November, the anniversary of Yasser Arafat's death.
Gaza's Tamarud movement was born in the wake of that of Egypt that backed the mass demonstration of 30 June that brought down Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsi. However, the Hamas-dominated Gaza Strip is not Egypt.
AsiaNews interviewed the leader of the Palestinian movement who, on condition of anonymity, spoke about the goals of Tamarud Gaza.
Despite threats, abductions and torture carried out by the Islamist government, they are determined to take to the streets to show the world "that the people of Gaza are tired of Hamas oppression and want a new life."
How did your movement start and who joined it?
We began about six months ago, gaining support especially among young people living in Gaza. In a short period of time, Palestinian writers, journalists and intellectuals joined the movement as well. With them, we decided that the time had come to rebel against the acts of injustice perpetrated by members of Hamas, calling for their resignations and new presidential and legislative elections.
What is the situation in the Gaza Strip?
Gaza is a narrow place that over the years has become the home to about 1.5 million people in dire economic straits. The Gaza Strip lacks electricity, drinking water and epidemics are very frequent.
However, what affects the people the most are the policies of the Hamas government. The 2007 coup was followed by a reign of terror in the Gaza Strip. In a few years, cases of rape, murder, and corruption have increased. People live in the total absence of the rule of law.
Fatwas issued by Hamas have replaced the laws of the Legislative Council. This has encouraged the emergence of armed gangs that do not respect any law and carry out acts of terrorism against the population.
Islamists kill or arrest anyone who opposes their policies. People now detest any action taken by the men of Hamas and call for the end of their government.
How many followers does the movement have?
According to the latest statistics, at least 500,000 people support our cause in Gaza and in other countries. In the Gaza Strip, the number is constantly growing due to the constant acts of injustice perpetrated by the Hamas government. Most of our activity takes place on Facebook and other social networks. This way, we have been able to get into contact with Western media.
In recent months, have you received threats or experienced other forms of repression?
Since we began, gangs hired by Hamas seized and tortured dozens of people, accusing them of working for our movement. But these people only exercised their rights.
[Hamas] militiamen have used the most brutal methods of torture against their opponents, ordering them not to participate in our work. Hamas issued death threats against us through the al-Qassam Brigades spokesman.
In order to prevent people from knowing and participating in the demonstration of 11 November, the government and its affiliated militias have unleashed a wave of terror among the people of Gaza.
What future do you want for Gaza?
For now, we are determined to carry out our campaign leading up to the demonstration set for 11 November. The protest must succeed to push the Hamas government to give up power and hold democratic elections under the supervision of international organisations.
We hope that Hamas will listen to the demands of the oppressed people. We want to be citizens of the Gaza Strip, we want to live with dignity and enjoy rights and freedoms in order to improve our living conditions and offer young people employment opportunities, as in the rest of the world.
God willing, we will reach our goals and stop the acts of injustice committed against our people by Hamas terrorists from the al-Qassam Brigades and the military gangs. (S.C.)