The demonstrators burst into the Palestinian Legislative Council chamber while it was in session on Wednesday, forcing speaker Aziz al-Dwaik to stop proceedings.

Some protesters ripped up documents resting on members' benches, while others quarrelled with elected deputies in the parliament, which has been dominated by members of Hamas since last January's election.

Various MPs called for calm, demanding that the protesters leave the chamber. 

Qais Abd al-Karim, a member of the council, told Aljazeera's correspondent in Ram Allah that it was the right of the workers to demonstrate, but criticised the protesters for turning violent.

"It is the workers' right to ask for their salaries. We know they are facing terrible economic problems. The situation has been going on for four months now," Abd al-Karim said.

 

The Palestinian MP also blamed the government for not sharing information about its plans with the people.

 

"The government does not tell the employees or citizens about its plan to face this problem. That is why I say it is the employees' right to demonstrate."

  

Abd al-Karim said the legislative council would hold an emergency meeting next Monday to discuss the issue.

 

The vast majority of civil servants have not been paid since February, owing to a difficult financial situation after Western aid cuts to the Palestinian Authority since Hamas formed a government.