This morning the people in Niâlin organized another mass demonstration to protect their lands and lives from destruction by the Apartheid Wall. As the construction workers did not agree to stop their work on demand of the people, the protestors have disabled their equipment.
***image2***After hundreds of protestors had gathered in the village center, the demonstration took a different path than it normally would. Instead of going as usual to the most advanced section of the construction on the Wall, that are currently destroying the village lands, the protestors marched towards the end of the area where the bulldozers were working. In this part of the land the destruction started already two months ago and it is some 1.6 km away from the most fore front of the worksite. The demonstrators faced 4 bulldozers, 2 jeeps and a truck while the Occupation army was all stationed at the other end of the worksite.
The people demanded the destruction of their lands to be stopped. They stood in the way of the construction and lied down in front of the bulldozers to impede further work. However, the bulldozer drivers blindly continued their work. At this point, the people were left with no other choice but disabling the equipment. They started throwing stones, smashing the windows of the bulldozers and attacking the jeeps and the truck. For hours they effectively stopped the work and damaged the equipment to ensure it couldnât be used for further Wall construction.
When the occupation forces arrived after three hours to the place, the people changed their tactics and moved to the front of the construction. Before they could even get close to the bulldozers, the occupation forces started shooting tear gas, sound bombs and rubber bullets at full force. However, the people were not intimidated and clashes between the demonstrators and occupation forces ensued. 10 protestors were injured by rubber bullets. One of the injured was 12 years old, and another is a 9 year old boy. Many more endured inhalation and poisoning from the excessive amounts of tear gas and had to be taken to the medical clinic.
After these attacks on the demonstrators from the village, just as it was believed to be calming down, the people went back to the Nilâin where the army then again attacked the people at the entrance of the village. They shot teargas inside two buildings that are located near to the Wall. One belongs to the village teacher Sami âAmira and another is the home of Azmi Khawaje. Tear gas even permeated inside the medical clinic, further threatening the health of those that had been brought there for treatment from the demonstration.
Finally, the occupation forces tried to arrest the international activists and freelance journalists present at the demonstration and to confiscate their cameras in order to be able to identify youth involved in the protests. However, the people in Niâlin took the international supporters in their homes and moved them from place to place deeper inside the village. The army had to give up on this attempt of repression as they were not willing to go into the village, protected by its inhabitants with the only thing Palestinians have to defend their lands: the stones of its earth.
Almost 4 years after the ICJ decision that the Apartheid Wall has to be dismantled, the international community is still watching idly as Niâlin, and many other communities, are systematically destroyed and dispossessed. The people of Niâlin have taken the decision in their own hands to stop the Wall, and need global support for their courageous actions.