(JNS) Seven Palestinian reporters were in Hamas’ custody earlier this week, reported The Times of Israel, citing a source with the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, as they were covering protests over Gaza’s increasingly severe economic hardships and high cost of living.
They were “due to be released in the coming hours,” according to the outlet, as “security forces have used violence to break up the demonstrations and, according to rights groups, dozens have been arrested, including journalists and human-rights workers.”
The West Bank-based syndicate said that 17 journalists were arrested, 10 of them released and four undergoing hospital treatment.
The U.N. envoy to Israel and the Palestinian territories, Nickolay Mladenov, said in a statement: “I strongly condemn the campaign of arrests and violence used by Hamas security forces against protesters, including women and children, in Gaza over the past three days.”
“I am particularly alarmed by the brutal beating of journalists and staff from the Independent Commission for Human Rights and the raiding of homes,” he added.
Mladenov also noted that “the long-suffering people of Gaza were protesting the dire economic situation and demanded an improvement in the quality of life in the Gaza Strip. It is their right to protest without fear of reprisal.”