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Protester arrested as soldiers occupy Nabi Saleh

9 January 2011 | Popular Struggle Coordination Committee

Border Police officers arresting Ouday Tamimi. Picture credit: Bilal Tamimi

Dozens of soldiers brought the village of Nabi Saleh to a standstill today in yet another attempt to curb demonstrations in the village. One protester was arrested, and two required medical treatment for their injuries.

Dozens of villagers, joined by Israeli and international supporters took part in the weekly demonstration in the village despite the siege laid on the village by the army, and the unusually large number of soldiers who occupied the village’s streets. Many hiked through the mountains the entire area was declared a closed military zone as early as 9 am and a gate that was installed at the entrance to the village earlier this week was shut closed.

Unlike most weeks, this Friday’s midday prayer, which precedes the demonstration, did not take place in the village’s mosque, but rather on the hill opposing the settlement. As people gathered to pray, soldiers and Border Police officers rushed towards them, ordering them to enter their homes for the duration of the closed military zone order. In response, the protesters staged a sit-in and refused to leave the place.

At the same time, clashes broke inside the village between the armed soldiers who took over the village, and local youth. Throughout the day, soldiers shot rubber-coated bullets at the protesting villagers and their supporters, as well as massive quantities of tear-gas. Tear-gas projectiles were often shot directly at the protesters, causing one injury. At some point, a pregnant women was evacuated to the hospital, after soldiers fired a tear-gas projectile directly into her house. Naji Tamimi, a member of the village’s popular committee, was beaten by a group of Border Police officers as he tried to approach the house in order to evacuate her.

During the day, soldiers randomly took over houses and arrested a seventeen year-old from the street. They have also tried to detained a thirteen year-old boy, but after other demonstrators gathered around him to prevent his arrest, the soldiers decided to not peruse his detention.

At nightfall, on the army’s retreat out of the village, a final barrage of tear-gas was volleyed, as 64 projectiles were simultaneously fired into the village.