Hundreds of Palestinians joined rallies across the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Wednesday in support of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and his tough stance at the failed peace summit with Israel.
There were no immediate reports of incidents, with both Israeli and Palestinian security forces on alert for possible violence.
In Gaza City, hundreds of people took to the streets, shouting slogans in support of Arafat, also known by his nom de guerre Abu Ammar.
"With our souls, with our blood, we sacrifice for Abu Ammar!" they cheered.
In a carnival-like atmosphere, people watched a dozen Arabian horses dance in Gaza City's main square ahead of an official and popular welcome for Arafat.
Arafat is expected to deliver a speech on is arrival in Gaza, his office told AFP.
Palestinians are generally jubilant that Arafat refused to make concessions at the summit, believing that no deal was better than one that compromised their demands, particularly on Jerusalem and refugees.
In the West Bank town of Ramallah, some 400 people marched, cheering, "Go, Go Abu Ammar, we are with you until Liberty."
"Jerusalem, capital of Palestine!" others shouted.
In the Palestinian-run city of Bethlehem, around 100 people demonstrated in support of Arafat while in Jenin in the northern West Bank, some 500 protesters from the PLO’s mainstream ‘Fateh’ marched in the center of the town.
In some other West Bank towns such as Tulkarem, Palestinian workers closed shops as part of a two-hour strike to show solidarity with Arafat – GAZA CITY (AFP)
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