Sound Grenade and Tear Gas Assaults Continue in al-Ma’asara, Rubber Coated Bullets Fired on Protesters in Nabi Saleh

27 August 2010

Two activists were arrested today in al-Ma’asara as demonstrations continued against the construction of the Annexation Barrier and the theft of the villages land by the Efrat settlement. A group of about 25 protesters marched with flags and a bullhorn from the center of town to the main road, where they were confronted by a line of heavily armed Israeli soldiers. Protesters chanted “soldiers go home” and gave speeches against the occupation and settlement expansion. Soldiers pushed back against demonstrators, who sat down and raised their arms in protest. After about twenty minutes soldiers began shooting sound grenades and tear gas into the crowd. Several activists were hit, but no serious injuries were reported. Two Israeli activists were arrested from the front of the crowd, one of whom was released shortly thereafter.

Protests also continued in Nabi Saleh, where around 60 activists gathered to protest the annexation of the villages land by the illegal Halamish settlement. Tensions have been particularly high following the settler take over of a fresh spring well which has belonged to the village for over a century. Demonstrators began marching away from the village, but were stopped by a line of soldiers who threatened to arrest the demonstrators. When the march retreated back into the village it was followed by the soldiers, who fired tear gas, sound grenades and rubber coated steal bullets into the crowd. Military incursions into the village continued for five hours, and many of the village’s youth responded by throwing stones at the soldiers. One Israeli activist was arrest, and no injuries were reported.

Demonstrations against the Annexation Barrier were also held in Bil’in, where one protester was shot in the knee with a rubber bullet. Seven activists, including medics and a journalist, were also arrested in Nil’in’s weekly demonstration.