Police forces of the Islamic militant group Hamas that rules the Gaza Strip suppressed a demonstration by local youth movements calling for it to mend ties with the rival Palestinian government in the West Bank.

Hamas supporters took over the podium where protesters were expressing their demands Wednesday. Some Hamas units in civilian clothes beat the demonstrators and made arrests.

Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007, leaving the Palestinians split between two governments. The secular, Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas governs part of the West Bank.

The bitter rivals agreed under last year's unity deal to form an apolitical unity government made of technocratic government ministers. However, little progress has been made in the unity efforts, and the West Bank and Gaza remain divided.