- Title: WEST BANK: Palestinian teachers protest to demand to be paid by unity government
- Date: 30th April 2007
- Summary: (BN10)RAMALLAH, WEST BANK (APRIL 30, 2007) (REUTERS) PALESTINIAN TEACHERS DEMONSTRATING OUTSIDE GATES OF THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION, SCUFFLING WITH SECURITY GUARDS AND TRYING TO GET INTO MINISTRY COMPOUND PROTESTERS SHAKING GATE AND TRYING TO OPEN IT, PALESTINIAN SECURITY HOLDING GATE PROTESTERS PRESSED AGAINST GATE, PALESTINIAN SECURITY MEN TRYING TO KEEP GATE SHUT CROWD SHOUTING PROTESTERS CLIMBING ON GATE, BEING BLOCKED BY SECURITY CROWD DEMONSTRATING EXTERIOR OF MINISTRY
- Embargoed: 15th May 2007 13:00
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA1A8G6RTVFZ9F1R7NJOVY33WVE
- Story Text: Palestinian public school teachers tried to push their way into government offices on Monday (April 30, 2007) demanding their full wages in the first protest of its kind since a Hamas-led unity government was formed last month.
Hundreds of teachers took part in the protest in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
The teachers tried to storm the offices of Education Minister Naser al-Shaer but he was not there. They chanted and tried to push their way through the ministry gate. Some held up banners, one of which read: "Salaries are our right".
In a separate incident, police used batons to push back a small group of teachers at the offices of the Palestinian prime minister. Some of the protesters were hit but none suffered serious injuries.
Palestinian Finance Minister Salam Fayyad plans to start paying partial salaries to government workers at the start of each month, but union leaders say that falls short of the unity government's promises.
Monday's protest illustrated the difficulties Fayyad and the unity government faced in meeting the expectations of Palestinians who have not received their full wages since Hamas Islamists came to power in March 2006.
Government employees' union chief Bassam Zakarneh has threatened a new round of work stoppages, starting with a one-day strike on Wednesday (May 2).
Hamas Islamists formed a unity government last month with President Mahmoud Abbas's secular Fatah faction to try to end internal fighting and ease a year-old economic embargo.
However, tension between Hamas and Fatah remain high, particularly in the Gaza Strip, and a Western ban on direct aid to the Palestinian Authority remains in place.
Fayyad is counting on receiving at least 55 million U.S. dollars a month from Arab League members to cover about half of the Palestinian Authority's monthly payroll.
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