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Protests continue in An Nabi Saleh

14 January 2011 | International Solidarity Movement

On Friday, the weekly demonstration was again held in the village of An Nabi Saleh. The situation in the village is getting worse: from 6 o´clock in the morning soldiers closed the newly installed gate at the checkpoint so that nobody could enter the village. This makes it extremely difficult for international and Israeli activists to join the protest, and for two weeks now the village is considered on Fridays to be a closed military zone, with the Israeli army imposing a curfew on all people in the village.

Israeli soldiers in the village of An Nabi Saleh

So, this Friday, by 11am soldiers were in the village and announced through a megaphone, in Hebrew and English, that the village is closed for all people until the next day. During the midday prayer – when most people were praying in mosque – some soldiers took over a house and even refused to let the people who lived there enter it

At around 12:30 the demonstration started, but within five minutes the Israeli army began to fire large amounts of tear gas towards the protestors, and soon after a riot broke out with the soldiers in the olive fields close to the village. During this one soldier fell, breaking his arm and his leg – compare to this that the previous week two young men suffered from broken legs due to tear gas canisters -and after this the soldiers went crazy. One Israeli activist was injured by a tear gas canister whilst sitting outside drinking tea.

Soldiers were in the middle of the village for the whole day and were shooting everybody who was outside. An empty house was occupied in the centre of the village from which a soldier was firing tear gas and sound bombs towards the people in the big square in An Nabi Salah. A pregnant woman was hospitalized from tear gas inhalation and had to spend the night in the hospital in Ramallah.

The harassment and punishment from the soldiers continued for the whole day, and the shabab of the village continued to clash with the soldiers until sunset. At the end of the day the soldiers fired around 40 teargas canisters into the village for no apparent reason.

The villagers face a big problem with the repeated closure of the village on Fridays and with the curfew: it is becoming increasingly difficult to hold protests and send out a message against the occupation by Israel. Still, the village keeps on fighting.