Today, the weekly demonstration against the illegal Apartheid Wall and settlements in al-Maâsara and the surrounding villages in the south of Bethlehem was met by an unusually high number of soldiers, who had arrived in a military bus and additional jeeps. Again, the intended march to the lands of the villages was cut off by a row of barbed wire; however, this week, the barrier had been moved further into the village and spread diagonally across the main street, allowing for more soldiers to line up behind it.
The stepped up military presence clearly forbade military aggression. Nonetheless, the local protestors, who were again joined by international and Israeli activists, walked peacefully to the barrier and began to honor a Palestinian who was twice run over by a settler in Hebron last week after allegedly stabbing two settlers.
Minutes after the protestors reached the barbed wire, soldiers grabbed a Palestinian and detained him in a military vehicle, where he was reportedly beaten in the face and chest.
Soldiers then engaged in the usual skirmishes with the children of the village who repeatedly attempted to remove the temporary barrier and gain access to the detained young man.
Occupation Forces then issued an ultimatum, threatening to move the young man to a detention center unless demonstrators dispersed within five minutes. Lead by the al-Maâsara Popular Committee, protestors refused and sat on the street in defiance and continued to play drums and demand an end to the occupation of Palestine, while a group began to play football in front of the soldiers. Members of the Popular Committee repeatedly affirmed that the demonstration would continue until the young man was released.
After 30 minutes, the young man was finally released and accompanied home by the protestors.
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