Hundreds of people blocked the main road through the town of Bethlehem in the West Bank last night. The protestors, loyal to the Fatah party, were unhappy that their representatives had been left off the party’s list of candidates for elections at the end of next month.
In an illustration of the increasing tensions in the region, a barricade of burning tyres stretched acoss the street. The road was blocked as far as the nearest Palestinian refugee camp. Palestinian security forces did not intervene, according to an eyewitness. The Fatah leader, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, has drawn up a final list of candidates for next month’s legislative elections. The demonstrators want the growing influence of the younger sections of the party to be taken into account. Earlier on Tuesday dozens of gunmen took over three government buildings in the northern Gaza Strip. Around 60 members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an offshoot of the Fatah movement, commandeered the offices to demand jobs.