UN official condemns Hamas crackdown on Gaza protests

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GAZA: A UN envoy condemned Gaza`s ruling Hamas group on Sunday for what he called its campaign of arrests and violence in confronting street protests over the past few days against high prices.

Hundreds of people have taken to the streets across the enclave in “We want to live” demonstrations. Human rights officials said dozens of people have been detained or hurt.

Cellular phone videos posted on social media showed Hamas security forces beating protesters with clubs, and gunshots could be heard. Tyres have been burned and rocks thrown at the Hamas men.

Nickolay Mladenov, the U.N. special coordinator for Middle East peace, said in a statement that “the long-suffering people Gaza” have a right to protest at “the dire economic situation” without fear of reprisal.

“I strongly condemn the campaign of arrests and violence used by Hamas security forces against protesters, including women and children, in Gaza over the past three days,” he said.

Contacted by Reuters, a Hamas spokesman had no immediate comment on Mladenov`s remarks.

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