Dozens injured in quelling of demonstrations outside Ofer prison



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[ 06/10/2011 – 07:33 PM ]

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– Injuries abounded after teargas was fired at peaceful protests at the entrance of Israeli Ofer prison near Ramallah on Wednesday, as the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) desperately seeks to quell the vigor of a mass hunger strike rocking the Israeli prisons.

Dozens suffered the effects of breathing toxic gas after showing up at noon to display solidarity with some 800 Palestinian prisoners striking behind the walls of Ofer prison, witnesses said.

The Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs in Gaza said the IPS has so far failed to thwart the strike, including thousands, after it has begun to promise to give in to some of the basic demands.

There has been a surge in crackdowns and prisoners have been dispersed to other facilities and placed in isolation after the strike started to gain momentum.

The prisoner representation has rejected all promises and is prepared to continue the strike until death, the Prisoners’ Affairs Ministry said.

Thousands gathered Wednesday after twilight in rallies called for by Hamas, which has vowed not to forsake the prisoners and initiated a series of activities in an “outburst of solidarity”.

“We will not rest until we can free all captives in the occupation prisons,” said senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya before the masses.

Hayya added that resistance in all its forms was the way to liberate the captives as well as protect the free.

He went on to say that the Israeli leaders would sooner or later be tried in the courts for war crimes against the 6,000 plus Palestinian captives.

Earlier that day, rallies began at the Red Cross mission in Gaza and headed for the Beit Hanoun crossing on the de facto border with Israel.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum, who attended the rally, declared that the third Palestinian intifada (uprising) would be for the sake of the prisoners.

“They are the ones paying the price of freedom and dignity in the occupation prisons,” he said.

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