Protest against Abbas in Gaza
Protest against Abbas in GazaReuters

Thousands of protesters in Gaza on Sunday called on Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas to resign after attempts to pressure his rival Hamas with financial cuts in the enclave.

"Leave!" yelled crowds made up mainly of supporters of Hamas and Mohammed Dahlan, an Abbas rival who was expelled from his Fatah party and who now lives in exile, according to AFP.

They called on the Palestinian Authority to pay the full salaries of public sector employees in Gaza, which is run by the Hamas terrorist organization.

The protesters also demanded increased electricity supplies to the enclave, where residents receive power in around eight-hour intervals.

They also demonstrated against Israel's more than decade-long naval blockade of Gaza, which is meant to prevent Hamas from obtaining weapons or materials that could be used to make them.

Hamas and Fatah have been embroiled in a bitter rivalry since 2007, when Hamas violently took over Gaza from Fatah in a bloody coup.

The two organizations signed a reconciliation deal in October of 2017, under which the PA was to have resumed full control of Gaza by December of that year.

That deadline, however, was initially put back by 10 days, had later reportedly hit “obstacles”, and has never been implemented.

The rivalry between the groups has intensified in the past year because of the punitive measures taken by the PA against Gaza.

The demonstration against Abbas took place a day after Fatah members in Gaza held a demonstration in support of the PA chairman Mahmoud.

The official PA news agency Wafa reported that Hamas activists attacked the participants in the demonstration with batons and arrested several of them.