GAZA // The Hamas movement cancelled its upcoming anniversary rally yesterday, saying it was inappropriate to celebrate at a time of deep economic woes in the territory.
It was the first time the group has cancelled the festivities since seizing power six years ago. Hamas has used the elaborate annual commemoration of its December 1987 founding to demonstrate its control, with large military-style gatherings attended by hundreds of thousands of people.
The Hamas official Ashraf Abu Zayed said funds allocated for the celebration, scheduled for next week, would be used “to alleviate the suffering” of the people.
“The decision to cancel the rally is a message of solidarity recognising the difficult circumstances experienced by our people in Gaza,” Mr Abu Zayed said.
The launch of a border crackdown by Egypt’s new government, accompanied by Israeli restrictions on Gaza, has caused power cuts, fuel shortages and the virtual collapse of the construction industry, a major employer in Gaza.
Last month, the lack of power caused a major spill at Gaza’s main sewage treatment plant, flooding downtown streets in waste.
* Associated Press