Friday protests continue despite week of raids and arrests
Posted inNews /

Friday protests continue despite week of raids and arrests

Demonstrations continued in four villages this Friday, despite a week of invasions, raids and detentions aimed at crushing the popular resistance. Protests against the Wall were held in Jayyous, Ma’sara, Ni’lin and Bi’lin, where the people commemorated the fourth anniversary of the weekly protests.

The actions in Jayyous and Ma’sara came in the wake of a campaign against participants and organizers. In Ma’sara, key activists and their families were targeted by Occupation forces, who broke into and searched homes while detaining and questioning families several times during the week. However, the demonstration continued as scheduled, as dozens of people rallied in the centre of town before marching toward their threatened lands. This week’s focus was the recent confiscation of 1,700 dunums of land from al-Khader and Irtas for the expansion of the Efrat settlement, and the demonstration concluded without serious incident.

***image1***In Jayyous, a smaller demonstration was held in spite of Wednesday’s events, where 70 youth, including many of the main organizers of the Friday demonstrations, were pulled from their homes and detained in the local school, which soldiers used as a temporary interrogation center. Although 16 youth are still being held in a nearby military camp, those who were released have refused to cave in the face of arrests and scare tactics. On Friday morning, dozens of local youth and international solidarity activists marched to the south gate, where they confronted several groups of soldiers. Clashes ensued, with 15 – 20 soldiers entering the village with two jeeps to occupy several houses. The clashes lasted until 6:30 in the evening, when the jeeps finally left the village.

In Ni’lin, soldiers sealed the village prior to the demonstration, stationing jeeps outside the entrances. Once again, however, the people were undeterred by the attempt at quelling the protest, and the march began after Friday prayers. Five people were injured over the course of the day in clashes with soldiers that lasted until five in the evening. Soldiers invaded the village, and fired upwards of 200 rounds of tear gas into and around homes.

The people of Bi’lin commemorated the fourth anniversary of their struggle this Friday. As was the case in Ma’sara and Jayyous, soldiers raided the village several times during the night in the days leading up to Friday. A number of political figures and parities were present at the demonstration, in addition to members of the popular committee of Ni’lin. Demonstrators gathered at the centre before marching to Wall, where soldiers fired tear gas at the crowd.

Overall, this week was marked by a concerted attempt by soldiers to spread fear in the villages. However, the people have refused to be intimidated by these efforts, and protests have continued. The popular spirit of resistance remains as strong as ever, demonstrating that these heavy-handed tactics will likely only serve to further galvanize actions against the Wall.