18 March 2011 | Friends of Freedom and Justice, Bil’in
The slogan of this week’s peaceful demonstration in Bil’in was to ‘End the Division and Occupation.’ Many international and Israeli activists participated alongside local residents of Bil’in and neighboring villages. Joining them were also the hunger strikers of the 15/March movement currently staying in Al- Manara Square, Ramallah. The protestors were holding Palestinian flags, banners of the leader, Marwan Al Bargoti, as well as posters of the martyrs Bassem and Jawaher Abu Rahmah whilst chanting “End the division and occupation”.
When the protestors arrived to the East gate of the wall the soldiers attacked the protesters with tear gas canisters, rubber coated bullets, sound bombs and chemical spray.
Tear gas canisters were shot directly at the protesters’ heads rather than up in the air, which led to injuries. Five locals were physically wounded: Nashmi Abu Rahmah, 16 years old, when a rubber bullet was shot at his right hand; Iyad Burnat, head of the Popular Committee, 38 years old, by a tear gas canister that was shot at his head; Mohamad Al Khatib, 17 years old, by a tear gas canister shot at his leg; Mohamad Burnat, 20 years old, also by a tear gas canister shot at his leg; and Asia, a 22 year old Italian activist, when she twisted her left ankle whilst running from the attack. The victims were treated on the location of the protest in Bil’in.
A dozen other people fainted due to inhalation of concentrated and poisonous tear gas. Many also suffered from the colored and foul chemical liquid that was sprayed over the protestors by the Israeli army during the peaceful demonstration organized by the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Bil’in. The demonstration started after the Friday prayers, and proceeded from the village’s mosque to the apartheid wall.