The Hamas-led Palestinian government in Gaza has made an unambiguous apology for the police attack on a women's protest march on Tuesday.
The demonstration had reached the Palestinian Legislative Council building in Gaza City when police used force to disperse the demonstrators as they called for an end to the factional divisions in Palestinian society.
The head of the government's media office, Ehab El-Ghussein, said in a press statement that the Ministry of the Interior is to hold an inquiry into the incident. "What happened reflects neither the culture of the government nor the Palestinian people," he said. "The government apologises unreservedly."
The march was organised by the General Union of Palestinian Women and other women's groups.
Mr. El-Ghussein said that the government has always stressed that freedom is guaranteed for all citizens, and it is the government's responsibility to reinforce that freedom within the law.
"These acts definitely do not represent the government's orientations," he added, noting that the Palestinian government takes "full responsibility" and will launch an inquiry to get to the bottom of what happened.
"The government can prove over the years that Gaza, with its various political factions, is enjoying freedom of expression; any violation that takes place is unacceptable and we will work immediately to minimise the impact of the police action in this case."
El-Ghussein said that the investigation committee will have a clear deadline by which it must submit its findings, which will be available for everyone to read. "The government in Gaza will continue to be an honest guardian over the security, stability and dignity of our people, men and women alike," he said.