Tens of thousands rally for U.N. bid in West Bank
Tens of thousands were rallying in the West Bank on Wednesday in support of a bid to secure UN membership for a Palestinian state, a security forces spokesman told AFP.
“Tens of thousands of Palestinians are taking part in rallies across the West Bank,” said Adnan Damiri, spokesman for the Palestinian security services.
“All security forces, around 8,000 of them, are on top of their game today to keep the rallies peaceful and maintain the safety of the participants and public property,” he added.
AFP correspondents reporting from cities across the West Bank said demonstrators packed into central squares in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Nablus in the north and Hebron in the south.
The rallies were called to show support for Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s bid to ask the United Nations to admit a Palestinian state as a member.
He is expected to formally submit the request on Friday, when he will also address the General Assembly in a speech that will be broadcast on giant monitors in cities across the West Bank.
In Gaza, by comparison, the streets were quiet, with no extra police activity or flags to be seen in Gaza City.
Gaza’s Hamas rulers said they had reached agreement with Abbas’s secular Fatah movement to head off the possibility of similar demonstrations in the coastal territory that might spark confrontations between the rival factions.