Gaza police disperse pro-Abbas protest

GAZA CITY – Police in the Gaza Strip on Monday dispersed a protest by members of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement, ahead of a scheduled meeting in Washington between Abbas and U.S. President Barack Obama.

According to Fatah's Gaza spokesman Hassan Ahmed, Hamas – which governs the Gaza Strip – prevented Fatah members from staging a protest in support of Abbas.

Fatah had earlier invited members to stage demonstrations in all Palestinian cities in support of Abbas ahead of his meeting with Obama.

Meanwhile, Gaza Interior Ministry spokesman Eiad al-Bozum said the ministry had earlier told members of Fatah – Hamas' chief political rival – that the protest would not be permitted with a view to preserving public order.

Before the protest dispersal, participants carried photos of Abbas and chanted slogans in which they urged him not to concede longstanding Palestinians' rights during his scheduled meeting with Obama.

Abbas is expected to meet with the U.S. president in Washington later on Monday to discuss the latest developments in Palestinian-Israeli peacemaking, according to an Abbas spokesman.

Some Israeli newspapers expected Obama to pressure Abbas to accept a "framework agreement" proposed earlier by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

US-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians resumed in Washington last summer after a nearly three-year pause.

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