In a series of villages torn apart and encircled by the Wall, on Friday 8th June, protests were staged to mark the 40th anniversary of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the remaining parts of Jerusalem. Um Salamoneh, which was designated the central protest for the southern area of the West Bank, saw severe clashes and three arrests during the protests as a huge presence of Occupation forces attempted to repress the popular demonstration.
***image2***Answering the call of the committees against the Apartheid Wall and a wide range of political forces, over 300 people came out to protest against the Occupation and its policies of ghettoization and expulsion. The demonstration commenced at a house which had been completely isolated from the rest of the village. The demonstrators then attempted to pray on threatened agricultural village land and march through the streets. However, they were met with huge numbers of Occupation forces who blocked the proposed march route.
The villagers insisted on the right to their land and access to it and attempted to fight their way to their land and property. Clashed ensued, during which three villagers were beaten by the Occupation forces and arrested.
Protests in Um Salamoneh started months ago when the Occupation bulldozers began to raze the villagersâ lands to build the Apartheid Wall that together with the Jewish-only roads built on the village lands isolate large parts of the lands that have since generations offered livelihood to the people. The continuous protests have galvanized the popular resistance in the area. As the bulldozers came to Irtas, just kilometers away from Um Salamoneh in the southern Bethlehem district, villagers from Irtas have risen up in weekly protests as well.