Saturday, September 22, 2007
"Hundreds of female Hamas supporters, some fully veiled, marched Saturday to demand the release of members of the Islamic militant group from Palestinian jails.
The protest was the first during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan held by Hamas loyalists in the West Bank, which is ruled by rival group Fatah. Previous protests in support of Hamas have ended in violence.
Palestinian police formed a chain to prevent the women, some covering their faces and others wearing headscarves and long coats, from gathering in Ramallah's main square, where protests traditionally converge......
Sabah Katalouni, 41, said her husband, a 50-year-old municipal official, was arrested Friday after security officials broke into their house and fired in the air. Katalouni said pro-Fatah officials beat her husband and her son. "They are oppressors," she said of Fatah.
"It is Ramadan and our brothers and fathers are in Abbas's jails," said a woman who gave her name only as Rula. "We are one Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank... Abbas is helping the Israelis by jailing his own people."
The women said some 700 Hamas loyalists have been arrested in the West Bank since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip by force in June, and that some 150 still remain in jail without charge.
Palestinian human rights groups have said some Hamas loyalists were harshly beaten during arrests........"