By Vicky Blackwell
Photographs by Vicky Blackwell
9th November 2012 | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank
Today, during the weekly demonstration against the separation wall in Bil’in, 2 international activists were struck by tear gas canisters shot by the Israeli army. One Italian activist was struck by a canister in the leg and an American activist was struck by a canister in the foot.
The demonstration started as usual and marched through the olive groves towards the separation wall. There, lies a path running parallel to the wall with razor wire on either side of it. The peaceful demonstration marched up the path next to the wall to a gate at the top, where the army was waiting on the other side and used tear gas and sound bombs to disperse the protest. The protest then moved away from the wall towards the olive groves when the army started firing excessive amounts of tear gas at the protesters, it was at this point that an Italian solidarity activist was struck in the leg with a tear gas canister. Many people also suffered from inhalation of the gas.
Around an hour after the start of the demonstration, people started to leave and head back to the village. It was at this point, when it was clear that people were leaving the demonstration to return home, that the army fired many more rounds of tear gas at the few remaining people in the field. It was then that the American solidarity activist was struck in the foot with a tear gas canister (luckily the footwear of the protester prevented any significant injury).
Vicky Blackwell is a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement (name has been changed).