RAMALLAH, West Bank – Dozens of Palestinian civil servants stormed a parliamentary session on Wednesday to demand long-overdue salaries, attacking Hamas lawmakers and forcing the parliament speaker to flee the building.
The demonstrators chanted slogans and banged on the door of the building before entering the hall. The angry crowd then pelted Hamas lawmakers with water bottles, tissue boxes and other small items. Some climbed onto the lawmakers' desks.
"We are hungry. We are hungry," the protesters screamed.
The Hamas-led government, weakened by international economic sanctions, has been unable to pay the salaries of civil servants since taking off more than three months ago. The financial crisis has caused severe hardship throughout the West Bank and Gaza.
Tensions between the sides have been rising, with 22 people killed in Palestinian infighting in recent months. Earlier this week, Fatah-allied security men torched the parliament building and Cabinet buildings in Ramallah in a rampage against the Hamas-led government.