Nablus Palestinians protest against PM Fayyad

AFP , Monday 31 Dec 2012

Following Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad's announcement that refugee camp residents would have to pay electricity bills starting 2013, nearly 300 Palestinians protest against Fayyad and economic situation

Nearly 300 Palestinians staged a demonstration in the northern West Bank town of Nablus Monday, protesting against the economic situation and against Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad.

An AFP correspondent said the protest came after Fayyad on Sunday announced that the Palestinian Authority would as of 2013 enforce the payment of electricity bills by refugee camp residents, who have so far not had to pay them.

The demonstrators chanted slogans accusing Fayyad of "starving" them, the correspondent said, and one protester tried to set himself on fire.

The government of the West Bank has been mired for months in financial crisis. Earlier this month Palestinian government employees across the West Bank went on strike over unpaid salaries.

The crisis has been aggravated by Israel's decision to halt the transfer of tax and tariff revenues as punishment after the Palestinians gained upgraded status at the United Nations.

The Arab League has promised the Palestinians a fiscal "safety net" of $100 million (75 million euros), and Palestinians had hoped to receive it during a visit by League chief Nabil al-Arabi to Ramallah on Saturday.

Arabi did not provide the money, but did discuss the issue in a meeting with president Mahmud Abbas.

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