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Israeli forces reintroduce use of high velocity tear gas projectile against demonstrators in Ni’lin

10 April 2009

The villagers of Ni’lin continued their struggle against the construction of the Apartheid Wall on their land with another weekly Friday demonstration on the 10th of April.  After the mid-day prayer, around 100 villagers carried signs against the occupation and marched towards the construction site of the Wall.  The nonviolent demonstrators  split into two groups, but both groups were stopped by the Israeli army, who had already taken up position on the outskirts of the village.  After villagers confronted the soldiers with speeches and chanting,  Israeli forces opened fire with tear gas and sound bombs from about 20 meters away.  Some of the village youth responded by throwing stones. Due to the large amount of weaponry fired by the soldiers, the demonstrators were forced to return to the village.  The army placed snipers on the roof of a Palestinian residence inside the village and one young man was shot in his leg with live ammunition (0.22 caliber). 

In addition to shooting live ammunition at the demonstrators , the army restarted firing high-velocity tear gas canisters.  This type of tear gas hasn’t been used in Ni’lin since solidarity activist Tristan Anderson was critically injured after being shot in the head with a canister on the 13th of March.  Almost a month later, Tristan Anderson is still listed in critical condition in Tel Hashomer hospital near Tel Aviv after undergoing three separate brain surgeries.  These new high-velocity tear gas canisters have  injured other Palestinians during nonviolent demonstrations in the West Bank, including a young man from Ni’lin who had his leg shattered when he was hit with this projectile in January 2009. 

At this weeks demonstration, two Palestinians were hit and injured with high-velocity tear gas canisters.  One man was hit in his back and had to be taken to the local clinic for treatment.  The other villager was hit in his jaw with the canister and also in his hand when he tried to protect his face.   He was taken to the hospital in Ramallah.  Two medics, one international and one filmmaker were also hit with tear gas canisters, and 18 people suffered from tear gas inhalation and were treated by medics.  Eight other demonstrators were also shot by Israeli forces with rubber-coated steel bullets.