World Bulletin / News Desk
Hundreds of demonstrators marched on the offices of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday to protest against diplomatic contacts with Israel and to denounce police violence at a previous rally.
Chanting for an end to the Oslo accords, the flag-waving crowd cut through Ramallah's crammed city centre under the watchful eye of scores of plainclothes security officers.
Heavy handed security forces intervened on Sunday to prevent a smaller group of protesters from reaching Abbas's headquarters in the occupied West Bank, and beat some journalists who tried to cover the event.
But a government source said police were under orders on Tuesday to allow the protesters to take their message to the gleaming stone walls of Abbas's compound, which is also the burial place of previous Palestinian president, Yasser Arafat.
"The streets are open to us today, and that's the result of a political decision. They realise the violence before made them look bad," said Ali Nakhle, a student who joined approximately 400 other, mainly youthful protesters in downtown Ramallah.
While there were no slogans directed specifically against Abbas himself, the protesters were scathing about a recent announcement that the Palestinian president was ready to meet Israeli Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz.
The planned encounter would have been the highest-level meeting between the two sides since direct peace talks broke down in 2010. However, it was abruptly called off at the weekend in apparent response to Palestinian public opinion.
"We want your head Mofaz," the crowds chanted on Tuesday, adding: "The people want the fall of Oslo," adapting a common refrain against the ruling elites in countless Arab Spring protests over the past 18 months.
The 1993 Oslo Accords gave the Palestinians limited self-rule in the occupied territories, and set out guidelines for future peace talks to end the Middle East conflict.
However, a lasting deal has proved elusive and the latest round of talks collapsed two years ago in a dispute over continued Jewish settlement building in the occupied West Bank.
The protesters, who do not appear to belong to any political faction, called for a fresh rally on Thursday, hoping their grass-root movement, which first took to the streets at the weekend, will gather momentum.
The demonstrations have come at a particularly delicate moment for Abbas's Palestinian Authority, which is facing a severe cash crisis because of a failure by some donor states, particularly in the Gulf, to hand over promised funds.
Finance Minister Nabil Kassis told reporters on Tuesday that the government could not pay its workers this month because the coffers were empty.
Paris prosecutors open inquiry following 3 NGOs' complaint about BNP Paribas' possible role in 1994 genocide
Martin Schulz -- Social Democrat leader -- hardens opposition to 'grand coalition' with Merkel's conservatives
It remains unclear how Abadi's order will be implemented
But the euro dropped after Chancellor Angela Merkel's "unconvincing election victory," as LCG analyst Jasper Lawler put it.
EU, US should not criticize move to declare it terrorist group, says Nigeria's presidential assistant on prosecution
Major unions call on their members to disrupt oil transfer after labor reforms were signed last week
There has been a decade-long split between Gaza and the occupied West Bank since 2007
Only 14 lawmakers with Turkish background elected to 709-seat Bundestag, where far-right became third-largest group
Voters in KRG-held areas vote in a controversial referendum on whether to secede from Iraq
Chief imam in the commercial hub of Lago since 2000, Sheikh Garba Akinola-Ibrahim died after a protracted illness
On eve of vote, Haider al-Abadi says Baghdad will not recognize results of controversial Kurdish region referendum
One day before Kurdish region’s independence referendum, KRG's Masoud Barzani reiterates that polls will not be postponed
Conservatives projected to win 33 pct of votes, far-right AfD wins 13.3 pct, set to enter parliament as 3rd-largest party
When the ceasefire was announced in September, President Juan Manuel Santos, also gave the later date. After that, Santos said, it would be extended in line with progress in peace negotiations.
A resident raised the alarm at around 10:30 pm and the bomb squad was on site in the suburb of Lambersart as a precaution.
In the end, her conservatives may be forced into torturous coalition haggling, possibly with their biggest campaign rivals, to stay in power and secure Merkel a fourth term.