Two international activists arrested and five injured at Ma’sara demonstration
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Two international activists arrested and five injured at Ma’sara demonstration

“Stop the killing! Stop the hate!” “No good morning, no goodnight, occupation we will fight!” “Viva! Viva! Palestina!” These are just a few slogans chanted by activists in the anti-Wall demonstration in Ma’sara on August 27, 2010. As every Friday, Palestinians with support of international solidarity activists gathered to protest the construction of the wall on their land. The weekly protest started at the al-Zawahira School and commemorated nine years since the assassinated by Israel of the Palestinian leader Abu Ali Mustafa as well as the 23rd anniversary of the assassination of the Palestinian political cartoonist Naji al-Ali.

***image2***The coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and the Settlements in al-Ma`sara village, Muhammad Brijiyeh, gave a speech about the assassinated leader Abu Ali Mustafa and how he came back to his homeland to resist and not to compromise. He spoke that all means of resistance are a legitimate right for people living under occupation. Also, Mazen al-Azza, coordinator of the Stop the Wall Campaign in Bethlehem, gave a speech stressing the futility of negotiations and he called to stop the negotiations with the occupiers.

The demonstrators started towards the entrance of the village shouting national slogans, carrying pictures of the Palestinian figures assassinated by Israel and cartoons created by the cartoonist Naji al-Ali. As the group approached the main road a dozen Israeli soldiers lining the road, not allowing the group to pass, confronted them. The soldiers physically pushed them up the hill. Upon confrontation, with arms of innocence held high, the protesters sat down. Then one of the leaders gave a speech both for the soldiers and the protesters: “Hello, we are in 2010 and living in a global village. What are you doing? How can you people do this? Wake up! You will never make us give up! We want to live in peace! Let us have our rights”

More soldiers began to arrive as settlers came to take pictures of the demonstration. The soldiers threatened the group with tear gas. Still the protesters stood their ground. The soldiers started yelling and throwing sound bombs to disperse the crowd. Upon dispersal, the crowd gathered again holding their arms up. An international activist was soon arrested as the soldiers fired more sound bombs. Tear gas was soon fired at the crowd. The IOF injured the coordinator of the popular campaign in Bethlehem, Mazen al-Azza, and Mohammad Banat by throwing gas canisters on their backs, and Ahmad al-Ajouri by a gas canister on his foot. Two canisters were thrown at an international activist, causing burns on his back, arm, and stomach. The activist’s arm began to swell immediately from the force of the canister exploding.

Eventually another international activist was grabbed and arrested. In the end two activists were arrested, although one was released shortly while the other was taken to an undisclosed location. Five activists were injured from tear gas canisters being thrown at them while dozens suffered from tear gas inhalation