Friday, July 23, 2010

Non-Violent Protest in Bil'in

Photo by Hamde Abu-Rahma
From: Iyad Burnat
Sent: Friday, July 23, 2010 7:22 PM

Dozens suffered from tear gas inhalation in Bil'ins weekly protest , former vice president of the European Parliament detained by the army and one Israeli protester arrested
Today the people of Bil'in were joined by about 100 international supporters, among them an Italian group including Lousia Morgantini, the former vice president of the European Parliament. The army fired tear gas at the protesters, and managed to grab and detain Morgantini. She was released after about half an hour, while an Israeli protester who tried to help her ended up getting arrested.
The protest started as usual after the midday prayer, and Palestinian, Israeli and International protesters went together towards the gate leading to the military post. People were dancing, singing and shouting slogans, and Argentine and others were carrying the flag of the European Union. Morgantini has been participating in a number of Bil'ins demonstrations over the last years, and is seen as great supporter of the struggle.

As people started to reach the gate, it took about ten minutes until the army started shooting tear gas. After another few minutes the army decided to storm the gate and chase the protesters. In the chaos Morgantini ended being grabbed by soldiers and separated from rest of the demonstration, that were forced back. As Morgantini was held by the military, some protesters decided to negotiate, walking up to the soldiers, who were lined up in several blocks to prevent people from coming up. One Israeli activist, Kobi Snitz was arrested while trying to speak to the army, and was then taken to a police station. Morgantini was released after about half an hour, and is in good condition.

No injuries were reported, though many people suffered from tear gas inhalation. Some stun grenades were also thrown into the field, and caused a fire. Todays protest in Bil'in proved that the army is serious about their threats of arresting protesters who are taking part in the weekly non violent demonstration, as witnessed several times the previous months.  

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