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Israeli forces and settlers attack demonstration in Burin, Nablus region

6th March 2009 | Burin village

Israeli Occupation Forces dispersed a peaceful demonstration in Burin, near Nablus, on Friday (March 6), firing teargas and rubber-coated steel bullets at about 100 protesters.The IOF opened fire on the marchers, who were singing, waving banners and Palestinian flags while engaged in a non-violent sit-down close to a Jewish settlement.

The protesters were demonstrating their frustration with the nearby settlement for stealing land that under international law belongs to the village. After a long walk to a piece of land near the settlement the marchers were met by about 40 heavily armed Israeli soldiers and border police, accompanied by a few heavily armed settlers.

The demonstrators sat down to sing and chant, when suddenly, without any provocation, soldiers started shooting teargas and throwing sound-bombs into the crowd, scattering them in all directions. Some minutes later the marchers managed to regroup, only to find themselves almost totally surrounded by the army and newly arrived settlers.

In an attempt to continue their peaceful protest the villagers sent one of their elders to negotiate. Despite being met with verbal threats and pointed guns, he managed to negotiate an agreement enabling the demonstration to continue for another two-and-a-half hours. He was escorted back by a group of soldiers and settlers, who lined up in front of the chanting crowd before again suddenly throwing teargas grenades and sound-bombs into their midst, scattering them for a second time.

On this occasion the soldiers kept following the villagers, repeatedly shooing at them until they had reached the outskirts of Burin. Five Palestinians were injured in the clashes.

The incident was witnessed by two international human rights activists.