16 October 2009
More than 150 Palestinian, Israeli and international peace activists gathered today in the village of Ni’lin to protest against the occupation and Apartheid Wall. The demonstration was dedicated to the 11,000 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails. Demonstrators brought signs with the names of the Ni’lin anti-Wall protesters who are currently in jail and called for the release of all prisoners. A number of youth had their hands locked with tie wraps to mimick what the Israeli military does to captured and arrested Palestinians. Demonstrators carried signs and slogans questioning world concern for the lone Israeli soldier in Palestinian custody while 11,000 Palestinians remain in Israeli prisons.
The demonstration started after the weekly Friday prayer with protesters marching towards the Wall. They were met with dozens of tear gas canisters, illegally aimed directly at the demonstrators.
The demonstrators remained, but moved westward where the Wall has not yet been constructed of concrete and remains a fence with barbed wire. They army followed from behind the Wall and continued to shoot tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets from a short distance. Boys from the village responded to the violence from the army with stone throwing.
Around one o’clock the army once again entered through the gate forcing the protesters to escape behind a hill to avoid arrest and injuries. After half an hour the soldiers pulled back behind the Wall and the protesters once again marched towards the Wall to continue their demonstration. A jeep entered the gate uphill in the fields west of the illegal Hashmon’im settlement and three soldiers got out and walked down hill shooting tear gas. While reaching the valley another group of soldiers entered from the gate that connects the concrete wall with the fence. The protesters were again forced to pull back but resumed their demonstration a half an hour later, reaching the Wall.
The military attacked demonstrators with rubber-coated steel bullets, ‘skunk’ water and an alarming amount of tear gas from a special adapter which simultaneously shoots 30 canisters. There were no serious injuries; several suffered from severe tear gas inhalation and a few reported being directly hit by canisters.