Organizers say Gaza protests to be scaled back in March

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Palestinian women, one holding a picture of Hamas movement chief, Ismail Haniyeh, attend a mass rally marking the 32nd anniversary of the founding of Hamas, an Islamic political party that currently rules in Gaza, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, in Gaza city. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Organizers of the weekly Palestinian demonstrations along the Gaza Strip’s frontier with Israel say they will significantly scale down the gatherings early next year.

The organizing committee of Gaza’s Great March of Return says that beginning in March, the demonstrations will only take place once a month.

Rescue vehicles, part of a convoy of around 20, arrives in Gaza City, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019. Palestinian officials say Israel has allowed the import of around 20 rescue and firefighting vehicles. The equipment was donated by Qatar. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

The step will coincide with the second anniversary of the demonstrations. The announcement is the latest sign that Gaza’s Hamas rulers are trying to maintain calm in hopes of strengthening unofficial “understandings” with Israel that would ease a crippling 12-year blockade.

The protests were launched in part to pressure Israel to loosen the blockade. But organizers have little to show for their efforts.

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