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Tear Gas canisters from Israeli army cause fires in Bil’in olive groves, 6 demonstrators arrested

Many internationals joined the Palestinians and Israeli activists during today’s demonstration at Bil’in village. The Israeli forces didn’t even allow the demonstration to approach the barbed wire they had put at the road at a point halfway between the first houses of the village and the Apartheid Wall. As soon as the demonstrators left the village chanting, holding Palestinian flags and a banner saying “F… the occupation”, the Israeli forces started to shoot tear gas canisters all over the place. The demonstrators dispersed into the olive groves and tried to avoid the gas by taking advantage of the direction of the wind, but it wasn’t always possible because of the huge amount of gas canisters that were fired. The Israeli forces used also rubber coated steel bullets against the demonstration and Palestinian young boys responded with stones.

Internationals who tried to hold the banner, walk on the road, and peacefully approach the barbed wire, were targeted. The demonstrators put rocks at the road and burnt a tire, in order to prevent the military and police vehicles to come toward the village. A man from the village holding a Palestinian flag climbed an electricity post. The tear gas canisters caused several fires in the fields. Internationals and Israeli activists who tried to approach were also targeted. One of them, despite the gas, managed to put out the fire on several occasions.

A group of about ten people, most of them Israelis, some internationals and a Palestinian, came from another direction and managed to pass the first section of the Apartheid Wall and walked peacefully along the road between the two sections of the Apartheid Wall, toward the border policemen. Six of the demonstrators were arrested and those who were attempting to de-arrest their friends were also targeted with tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets.

Several people have been injured by rubber coated steel bullets, one at the arm, one at the ankle, others in their legs.

When (after more than two and a half hours) most of the internationals and Israelis had returned to the village, some of the soldiers or border policemen chased the young Palestinians kids to the first houses of the village, shooting them with rubber coated steel bullets and tear gas.