Israeli forces shut down anti-wall rally


April 1, 2011

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Protesters commemorated Land Day during a weekly demonstration against Israel’s separation wall in the West Bank village of Bil’in.

Land Day marks the anniversary of a 1976 shooting in which Israeli troops killed six people during protests against land confiscations.

Israel’s separation wall cuts through Bil’in, confiscating 60 percent of the village’s land, on which Israel has built Jewish-only housing. In 2004, the International Court of Justice ruled that the route of the wall was illegal.

Israeli soldiers routinely use force to shut down anti-wall protests in Bil’in, and have killed two protesters from the village since 2009.

At Friday’s protest, soldiers sprayed chemical water over the demonstrators, and fired tear gas canisters, sound grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets, organizers said.

An army spokesman said forces used “riot dispersal means” against demonstrators who threw stones.

Protesters said troops began firing before they reached the barrier, and then stormed a gate in the wall.

Palestinian ambulances treated injured demonstrators at the scene.

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