International Solidarity Movement
12 February 2010
Yesterday around 1pm, a peaceful demonstration at Al Masara was stopped by the Israeli army when tear gas and sound bombs were unexpectedly thrown into the crowd.
The protest comprised of around 20 Palestinians, 8 internationals and 7 Israeli activists. Three mini busses of approximately 75 Palestinians from neighboring villages were stopped at a nearby checkpoint and prohibited from attending the protest.
Palestinian demonstrators at this protest were completely nonviolent, both verbally and physically. The crowd at once obeyed the orders from the commander of the army to move off the spontaneously demarcated closed military zone.
The first tear gas was fired soon after two youths waved Palestinian flags in front of a military vehicle as the crowd was moving back according to the orders from the commander. The assault was followed by two more hand thrown tear gas grenades and two sound bombs, one of which was thrown directly at a crowd of press after most of the demonstrators had left the area.
Local Palestinians were protesting for the right to access their land in the region where the separation barrier is currently being constructed. Similar nonviolent protests occur every Friday in Al Masara, which provokes frequent night raids by the IDF into the homes of the organizers.