Entsar Abu Jahal reports in Al-Monitor:
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Al Mezan Center for Human Rights released April 23 a “fact sheet” on violations of the people’s rights to assemble peacefully, express opinions and not be subject to arbitrary detention in the Gaza Strip.
The information presented was gathered between March 1, 2018, and March 1, 2019, as part of an EU-funded project to document rights abuses and promote compliance with international law.
The statement indicates that the Hamas government security service in the Gaza Strip summoned, arrested and detained 742 people, including five women, as they were exercising their rights, because of their political affiliations. The fact sheet reports bans on media coverage of protests and restrictions on the press, as well as theatrical and drama productions deemed to be anti-government.
The numbers would have been even higher, but the project ended just before the “We Want to Live” popular protests against the poor economic and humanitarian conditions in Gaza. During the protests, which ignited March 14 in Gaza City, security services arrested hundreds of protesters. Also, there were many reports of police using excessive violence in dispersing protesters, human rights activists and journalists.
“The ‘We Want to Live’ protests, which Hamas perceived to be a global conspiracy targeting the movement, have doubled the number of prisoners [being held for expressing their opinion] in an attempt to prevent the protests from escalating,” Samir Zaqout, Al Mezan’s director of monitoring and awareness, told Al-Monitor.