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Last Updated: Monday, 3 October 2005, 12:47 GMT 13:47 UK
Gaza police in parliament protest
Damage to Shati police station in Gaza
Hamas fired grenades at police in Shati refugee camp
Palestinian police officers have broken into the parliament in Gaza to demand a crackdown on the militant group Hamas.

The demonstration comes a day after fierce clashes between police and Hamas gunmen in which a police commander and two civilians were killed.

"Yesterday, we did not have enough bullets," one of the protesting policemen was quoted as saying.

The clashes were the worst of their kind for years and came as police tried to enforce a ban on carrying arms.

Our commander died in front of us, and we were running out of bullets
Palestinian police officer
Dozens of police entered the building, while witnesses said shots were fired by hundreds of officers outside. There are no reports of injuries and the men did not enter the parliament chamber itself.

The incident came as deputies linked up via videophone with colleagues in the West Bank for a debate on the security situation.

A no-confidence motion against the government had been planned, but parliament voted instead for President Mahmoud Abbas to form a new government within two weeks.

Tension

Shortly before the parliament protest, hundreds of police and mourners had buried the officer killed on Sunday - Ali Makawi, deputy police chief at the Shati refugee camp in Gaza City.

There was tension along the route of the funeral procession, with much firing in the air from members of the security forces, BBC Gaza correspondent Alan Johnston said.

Our correspondent says the police are clearly deeply unhappy at the general security situation, and they have chosen to show it by storming the parliament.

"Our commander died in front of us, and we were running out of bullets," said an officer. "Give us at least bullets to protect people and to protect our stations."

For its part, Hamas has moved to try to calm the situation by ordering its militants off the streets.


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