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The Latest: Thousands protest Gaza power cuts

Posted 10:34 a.m. Thursday

— The Latest on public displays of dissent against Gaza's electricity woes (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

Thousands of people are participating in a demonstration in the Gaza Strip to protest chronic power cuts during the cold winter season.

The demonstration is a rare sign of dissent in the territory, which the Hamas militant group has ruled for the past 10 years.

Thursday's demonstration began in the Jebaliya refugee camp, and as it grew in size, the crowd began marching toward a nearby electricity distribution center, chanting: "Raise your voice, electricity cuts mean death."

Hamas police, who rarely allow unauthorized demonstrations, have gathered near the electricity building to block the crowd and are shooting in the air.

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3:30 p.m.

Hamas has arrested a Gaza comedian whose video lament on social media about power cuts and other hardships under the rule of the Islamic militant group got more than a quarter million views.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said Thursday that Adel al-Mashwakhi, 32, was detained a day earlier, just hours after he posted the one-minute clip with the title, "Hamas, it's enough!"

Hamas has ruled Gaza since 2007, routinely clamping down on dissent.

Its violent takeover of the tiny, crowded coastal territory, home to 1.8 million people, triggered a border blockade by Egypt and Israel that sharply aggravated power shortages.

Gaza is currently experiencing the worst electricity shortage in years, with power supplied to households only three to four hours a day in a cold winter.

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