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Demonstration in Ni’lin

6 February 2009

On Friday, around 100 residents of Ni’lin along with 20 international and Israeli solidarity activists gathered for a demonstration against construction of the Apartheid Wall. The Israeli army fired on people gathered around the medical clinic before the start of the demonstration. The army entered the town of Ni’lin during the demonstration and shot at demonstrators and homes. Hamada Abed Erazik was shot in the thigh with 0.22 calibre live ammunition. Additionally, the Army shot tear gas at the medical team as they were trying to treat and retrieve the injured.

At 11.40am, the Israeli army started shooting teargas at demonstrators gathered at the medical clinic for the weekly demonstration before the prayer. Residents had to run towards the centre of town before they could start the prayer at the medical centre. Shortly after the prayer the army began shooting again and tried to occupy the clinic but the doors were locked. The army then took position on the roof of the construction site of the new school to fire towards the town. Another group of soldiers came from the olive field into the outskirts of the town, firing teargas and sound bombs in the side streets, before moving into the centre of the village.

The Israeli army continued to shoot teargas canisters as they entered town. When international activists tried to persuade them to stop, reminding them that children where inside their homes, the army threw a sound bombs and and gas grenade at the activists. The continual onslaught of teargas fired into the town caused a ten-year-old boy to faint from inhilation. The army set up snipers in the side streets, firing 0.22 calibre live ammunition at the demonstrators.

At around 4.00pm the demonstration moved to the olive fields when the army began snipering with the 0.22 live ammunition again. Individuals took cover behind olive trees but one demonstrator was shot in the thigh. When the medical team ran over with a stretcher to treat the injured man and take him to safety, the army fired teargas, putting the medical team in danger and disrupting their work. The 0.22 ammunition snipers also targeted a Palestinian demonstrator and an Israeli activist. They were both hit with the 0.22 calibre ammunition but were extremely fortunate to be unharmed as it only pierced their clothes. According to the Red Crescent, there were 23 injuries in all that required medical attention, 3 with rubber coated steel bullets, 1 with 0.22 live ammunition and 17 people with serious teargas inhalation.

Ni’lin has been demonstrating against the construction of the Apartheid Wall since May 2008. Upon completion, despite the International Court declaring such construction illegal by international law standards, the Wall will annex a large amount of Ni’lin’s land. The occupation has been using means of collective punishment against the resistance in the town. The Israeli Occupation Forces have also murdered four youths within the last 6 months, all but 10 year old Ahmed, were killed during participation in a non-violent demonstration against the Wall.