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Villagers of Ni’lin break curfew to hold non-violent demonstration

At five o’clock on the morning the 4th July, the Israeli army declared the village of Ni’lin as a closed military zone and blocked the three entrances to the village. The village was now under curfew. The Israeli army prevented the Palestinians from entering and leaving the village. The committee against the wall had planned a non-violent prayer-demonstration, as every Friday, at twelve o’clock. Usually the demonstration takes place at the construction-area of the wall but because of the closed military zone today it took place close to one of the roadblocks. 600 villagers participated. 15 Israeli and international activists joined the protests after they managed to enter the village through the fields.

During the day 24 persons were injured by rubber-bullets, live ammunition and tear-gas. Three homes were attacked by tear-gas and had their windows smashed. Four Israeli activists were arrested while leaving the village after the protests. One news reporter from AB News was arrested while trying to enter the village.

The roadblock prevented workers from going to their job, villagers to visit friends and family both inside and outside of Ni’lin, because one of the roadblocks divides the village in two parts. The Israeli army also stopped ambulances at the roadblock and prevented them to pass even though there were people injured. One 65 year old woman named Fayqa Hussni Khawaja was in need of hospital treatment, but because of the roadblock could not go. Soldiers drove into town several times to disturb the villagers. Boarder-police were also present in the village.

The demonstration was one of the biggest in Ni’lin’s history. Despite the curfew, 600 villagers protested by joining the prayer-demonstration. This was a peaceful protest against the collective punishment of the village. The demonstration was attacked by sound-bombs, tear-gas, rubber-bullets and live ammunition. The protests kept on until about 6 o’clock in the afternoon.

The last two months 160 persons have been injured by rubber-bullets and 300 have been severely effected by tear-gas during demonstrations against the building of the wall, the settlements, the checkpoint and the collective punishment of the village. Amongst these there are children between 8 and 20 years.