#LandDay | Protester seriously injured in Bethlehem

Maan News Agency | March 30, 2012

 

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A Palestinian protester was seriously injured in Bethlehem on Friday after being hit in the face by a tear-gas canister, a Ma’an correspondent said.

Muhammad Arafa, 20, was taken to hospital in Hebron. He was injured when Israeli forces fired tear-gas canisters and stun grenades at Palestinians who threw stones at a checkpoint in a rally marking Land Day.

Activists also called for the Global March to Jerusalem to commemorate the anniversary of Israel’s killing of six Palestinians protesting against land confiscation in 1976.

Thousands rallied at checkpoints around Jerusalem and in Gaza, Lebanon and Jordan.

Israeli forces fired tear gas, sound grenades, sprayed foul-smelling water and used a “scream” acoustic device against stone-throwing Palestinians at Qalandia near Ramallah.

Medics in the Gaza Strip said the Israeli army also used live fire to prevent protesters from approaching frontier barriers in the small coastal territory, wounding over two dozen people.

Hamas forces set up checkpoints to prevent protesters reaching the border area.

Gaza medical official Adham Abu Salmiya said 26 people were wounded near Beit Hanoun, including three with serious injuries, and six were wounded near Khan Younis.

Over 15,000 people gathered in Kafrein in Jordan, around 10 kilometers from the border with the West Bank, Agence France-Presse reported.

Israeli forces were put on high alert on the frontiers with Lebanon and Syria, but there were no reports of anyone nearing the border fences.

Previous Land Day remembrances have mostly passed quietly, but Israel decided to reinforce its defenses this year following deadly clashes along the Lebanese and Syrian borders in May and June that appeared to catch the military off guard.

Protest organizers called for peaceful rallies Friday against “the policies and practices of the racist Zionist state” and said solidarity protests were planned in some 80 nations.

“When crowds from 80 countries move towards Jerusalem, they send a strong message to the Israeli occupation that no one can accept what they are doing in Jerusalem,” said Gaza premier Ismail Haniyeh.


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Reuters contributed to this report

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