IOF quells West Bank marches

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Dozens of Palestinians and foreign activists choked on teargas after the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) suppressed  marches launched on the eve of Christmas in Bethlehem where Palestinians dressed as Santa Claus were participating. The IOF quelled other demos in the villages of Nilin and Bilin in Ramallah and Kafr Kaddoum in Qalqilya on Friday against the Israeli settlement and lands confiscation in the West Bank.

The PIC reporter said that the march of Bethlehem reached its northern checkpoint which leads to Jerusalem where protesters raised Palestinian flags and banners condemning the Israeli occupation’s practices. A number of protesters wore Christmas costumes and chanted slogans asking for lifting the siege on the city.

The Israeli soldiers sprayed pepper gas directly at the protesters’ faces and fired sound bombs to disperse the crowd causing minor wounds and suffocation cases among a number of activists and journalists.

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The activist in the popular resistance committees Mazen al-Izzah told the PIC reporter, “The march came to let the world know that as we are celebrating Christmas, there is an occupation that blockades the city of Jesus Christ.”

The human rights activist Farid al-Atrash said, wearing Santa Claus costume, “The Israeli occupation violates our rights to worship and move freely.”

Meanwhile, the IOF suppressed the weekly march in Bilin village also in Ramallah province.

Local sources reported that the peaceful protesters were met with rubber-coated metal bullets, tear gas canisters, and sound bombs causing dozens of suffocation cases.

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The protesters raised the Palestinian flag and photos of the MP Othman Ghashash on the 8th anniversary of his death.

Meanwhile, three youths were wounded by rubber-coated metal bullets and a 7-year-old child was detained for a while after the IOF suppressed the anti-settlement peaceful march in Kafr Kaddoum in Qalqilya, calling for opening the village’s street which has been closed for 14 years ago.

The popular resistance coordinator in Kafr Kaddoum and father of the detained child, Murad Shteiwi, said that his son, Mo’men, was assaulted, taken to a military jeep, and subjected to field investigation before being released.

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The Israeli occupation police, meanwhile, damaged a Christmas tree in Alezariye in eastern Occupied Jerusalem because activists posted photos of martyrs on it, local activist Sami Abu Ghaliya told Quds Press.

He added that activists took two weeks to make and decorate the tree, adding that youths in the village are adamant on repairing the tree and lighting it as previously scheduled in the evening.

(Source / 23.12.2016)

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