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Israeli forces shoot four with live ammunition at Ni’lin demonstration

6 March 2009

On the 6th March Israeli forces attacked the weekly protest against the construction of the Apartheid Wall in the village of Ni’lin, shooting four protesters with live ammunition. Three other people were injured after being hit by tear-gas canisters.

Over one hundred people gathered for an open air prayer in one of the village’s olive groves. After prayer, the crowd marched to the construction site of the Wall which runs through village land.

Villagers began breaking down the razor wire barrier along the construction zone. Israeli soldiers arrived in a jeep and began firing tear gas into the crowd, forcing the demonstrators to retreat. As they retreated, other soldiers positioned in the olive groves attacked them with more tear gas.

One international activist from Sweden was hit in the stomach with an extended range tear gas grenade.

In addition to tear gas, concussion grenades and rubber coated steel bullets; Israeli forces opened fire throughout the day with live ammunition. The Israeli army uses a special low calibre bullet known as the ‘0.22’. The bullets are commonly used by snipers at demonstrations in Ni’ilin.

According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, four young men were taken to the hospital after being shot with the new live ammunition. The first was shot in the left thigh as the crowd ran from approaching soldiers. The second was shot in the right calf and was taken to hospital in the same ambulance as the first. The third was shot across the lower back and had to be taken away in a private car. The fourth was shot just above the right knee.

Additionally, a young boy was hit with an extended range tear gas canister. The child was hit in the lower leg.

The last injury of the day was a Red Crescent Medic, also hit with a tear gas canister in the lower-back.

The protest continued until dusk, when the soldiers withdrew from the area of the village.

The Palestinian village of Ni’iln faces losing over half it’s land due to Israel’s Apartheid Wall. Every Friday, Ni’ilin villagers are joined by Israeli and international activists to protest against the Wall’s construction.