Four al-Ma’sara popular committee members arrested
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Four al-Ma’sara popular committee members arrested

***image1***This week, anti-Wall demonstrations held to commemorate the first of May were met with violence and organizers arrested. Occupation forces attacked a May Day festival and demonstration in al-Ma’sara, injuring nine people and arresting the village popular committee. Soldiers also fired upon residents in Bi’lin and tried to break the protest in Ni’lin, where they occupied homes in the early morning.

Nearly 800 people participated in the day’s actions in al-Ma’sara, where a festival and anti-Wall demonstration were organized by the local popular committee in cooperation with the Bethlehem branch of the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU).

As is usually the case, soldiers stretched barbed wire across the main road and blocked the advance of demonstrators. This week, however, soldiers also fired on the demonstration with tear gas, sound bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets. Nine were injured, among them a 57-year-old woman from al-Ma’sara, the head of the PGFTU, and a representative from the Italian trade union CGIL. The woman was moved to a Bethlehem hospital for treatment, while the others were treated at the village clinic.

Occupation forces also arrested the popular committee of the village. Muhammed Brajiya, Mahmoud Zawahreh, Hasan Brajiya, and ‘Azmi Sheukhi. This is not the first time the Ma’sara committee has been targeted; in the last incident soldiers ransacked the home’s of committee members and held their families for questioning.

Soldiers raided the village of Ni’lin early this morning, taking up positions on rooftops in attempt to preemptively stop the weekly protest. Undeterred, villagers marched toward the Wall following Friday prayers where they were met with scores of tear gas bombs and rubber-coated steel rounds. Four were injured over the course of the day.

In Bi’lin, protestors marched toward the Wall carrying banners calling for the defense of workers’ rights. A number of participants also carried pictures of Basem Abu Rahma. Soldiers fired tear gas at the crowd as it took a moment of silence at Abu Rahma’s memorial during the protest. As in Ni’lin, four people were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets.