Protesters face tear gas at West Bank demo

Published today 20:21| Maan News Agency

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Soldiers fired tear gas Friday at weekly demonstrations in the Palestinian village of Bilin, west of Ramallah, the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee said.

Despite the heat and fasting of Ramadan, dozens of Palestinian, international and Israeli activists took part in the protests, which began after Friday prayers in an area of land recently returned to the village by Israeli authorities.

Israeli forces stationed behind part of the separation wall fired tear gas at the crowds as participants shouted slogans toward the nearby settlement of Mattiyahu calling on settlers to return the land to residents of Bilin.

Dozens of the activists inhaled the tear gas causing mild injuries.

The village of Bilin, west of Ramallah, has been the scene of weekly protests for years as Palestinians have fought to protect their land from annexation.

Six years after the struggle began and four years after the Israeli High Court had ordered the re-routing of the wall, residents were finally granted access in June 2011 to 600 dunams of land previously annexed behind the wall.

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