Hamas vows to keep staging demonstrations ‘until we’ve achieved our objectives'.
In a statement, Gaza’s National Authority for Breaking the Siege urged Gazans to take part in the ongoing rallies, staging Friday’s protest under the banner, "We will not forsake our right to live in dignity”.
In a separate statement, Abdul-Latif Qanoua, a spokesman for Hamas (which has governed Gaza since 2007), said: “Our people have insisted on taking part in the rallies for 40 weeks in a row. We will continue these protests until we’ve met our objectives.”
Demonstrators demand the right to return to their homes and villages in historical Palestine, from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.
They also demand an end to Israel’s 12-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its roughly two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.
Since the rallies began on March 30, more than 250 Palestinians have been killed -- and thousands more injured -- by Israeli troops deployed near the buffer zone.