Wednesday, 24 January 2018 03:32 GMT

Gazans protest power cuts

(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Gaza City, Palestinian Territories: Dozens of Palestinians protested in Gaza on Monday over ongoing electricity shortages, the latest in a series of demonstrations against the Hamas authorities in the beleaguered territory.

Power shortages in the Palestinian enclave have occurred repeatedly in recent weeks, with homes in Gaza City typically getting around four hours a day -- rather than at least eight normally.

Residents in other cities and refugee camps are getting less than that in the enclave.

A series of protests against the Hamas-run electricity company have been met by police forces, with a number of arrests, according to an NGO.

Khaled al-Batsh, a leader in the Islamic Jihad movement, speaking to a few dozen protesters Monday, called for all parties to make "great efforts" to overcome the "worsening electricity crisis."

He warned of a "tragedy" without a change in course.

The United Nations says the shortages are the result of a range of factors including weak infrastructure, lack of bill payments, closure of illegal tunnels on the Egyptian border through which fuel was smuggled and the bombing of the Gaza power plant by Israel.

However they have been exacerbated recently by a dispute between Islamists Hamas, which runs Gaza, and Fatah, which controls the West Bank, over the payment of taxes on fuel imported to Gaza.

Both sides have blamed the other for the shortage.

The Palestinian Non-Governmental Organisations Network called on all factions to work together but denounced the arrest of "a number of citizens" at protests by Hamas authorities.

The roughly two million people in Gaza rely on one power plant, as well as imports from Israel and Egypt.

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