Ni’lin march honours the martyrs and activists in the Freedom Flotilla
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Ni’lin march honours the martyrs and activists in the Freedom Flotilla

In the village of Ni’lin’s weekly protest, participants demonstrated their indignation of Israel’s occupation of Palestine, its military, and its continued aggression – last of which was the massacre onboard the Freedom Flotilla. During the June 4th, 2010 Ni’lin march, protestors raised Turkish flags as well as flags of the countries of origin of many of the activists that participated in the Flotilla in order to express their respect and appreciation for their defiance of Israeli apartheid and occupation. The protestors honoured the Freedom Flotilla participants’ determination to break the siege imposed on a million and a half Palestinians in Gaza.

Sheikh Akrima Sabri, the Imam of Al-Aqsa Mosque, lead the Friday prayers before the march began. He saluted the martyrs of the Freedom Flotilla who died for Palestine during the attack. The sheikh asserted that the real face and intentions of the occupation were now evident to the international community. He also affirmed that the Israeli act of aggression against international solidarity to end the siege on Gaza reveals the extent of brutality of the Israeli regime through images and testimonies that are now spreading throughout the globe.

After the Friday prayer, the people gathered for a second prayer in honour of the people killed onboard the Freedom Flotilla. Afterwards, the people started the weekly march, moving towards the olive groves and the Apartheid Wall. However, this week’s protest was accompanied by the raising of Palestinian and Turkish flags and of pictures of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Participants also raised flags of many of the countries that participated in the fleet, including Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Algeria, Syria, Sweden, Greece and pictures of the martyr Aql As-Srour. As-Srour was killed one year ago in Ni’lin while trying to rescue a fellow wounded protestor. He was shot by a live bullet in his chest for protesting against occupation transgressions.

Before the villagers even reached the apartheid wall, the occupation forces attacked the march, firing large amounts of tear gas and sound bombs directly at the villagers. Clashes erupted between the villagers and occupation forces hiding behind the concrete blocks of the Wall. The entire area was drowned in tear gas and many suffered from suffocation. In spite of this dangerous climate, the protestors stood their ground and addressed the occupation forces over loudspeakers telling them that the whole world has now seen their crimes and are witness to the true face of Israel.

The tragic events onboard the Freedom Flotilla and in Gaza represent yet another episode in the bloody series of massacres committed by Israel’s Occupation forces. Israel’s violent response to a multilateral humanitarian effort to aid the impoverished people of Gaza reflects how Israel occupation policies of attacking civilians with asymmetric force is not a demonstration of Israeli bravery but rather a reflection of the arrogance involved in Israel’s violent pursuit to sustain the unjust occupation of the Palestinian people.