GAZA, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Palestinian leaders in Gaza and West Bank fear the protests in Egypt will spark a similar uprisings in the territories, officials said.
Thousands of people have joined a Facebook group calling on Palestinians in Gaza to demonstrate Friday against Hamas, Haaretz reported.
Another Facebook group called for protests against the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, the newspaper said.
Hamas security forces Monday dispersed a solidarity rally backing Egyptian protesters and arrested more than 20 people including six women, the newspaper said. Security officials told protesters they must receive authorization before demonstrating, the paper said.
Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director of Human Rights Watch, slammed Hamas' behavior, the Ma'an news agency said.
"The Hamas authorities should stop arbitrarily interfering with peaceful demonstrations about Egypt or anything else. Police committing unlawful arrests and abusing demonstrators should be held to account," she told the news agency.
Several Palestinians incarcerated in Egyptian jails escaped to the Gaza Strip during the recent upheaval in Egypt. One of them is said to be Ayman Nofal, a senior member of the Hamas military wing in Gaza, the paper said.