Protests on behalf of prisoners sweep the West Bank

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Israeli soldier presses his knee into the neck of a Palestinian youth, Hebron, May 11, 2012. (Photo: Mussa Qawasma)

Reaching a new height in protests supporting the 2,500 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, thousands demonstrated in cities across the West Bank yesterday. Marches were held in Hebron, Kafr Qaddoum, Nablus, Nabi Saleh, Ni’lin, Ramallah, al-Walaja and outside of Ofer prison.

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Protest tent, Nablus, May 11, 2012. (Photo: Ahmad Al-Bazz/ActiveStills)
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Demonstrators at this week’s Friday protest in Nabi Saleh carry signs in support of hunger strikers, May 11, 2012. (Photo:  International communities against Israel)

For almost a full week activists have gathered daily outside of Ofer prison, a large West Bank facility known for warehousing political prisoners, and the site of military trials for administrative detainees. Today journalists on the ground reported the Israeli military shot tear gas canisters, rubber coated bullets, water cannons, and “skunk water” sprayed from a large tank, resulting in 31 injuries. Separately, demonstrators in Kafr Qaddoum said live ammunition was fired.

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Protestors prepare to burn tires.
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Palestinians demonstrate in al-Walaja, near Bethlehem, May 11, 2012.
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Palestinian children holding hand-made sign, Nabi Saleh, May 11, 2012. 

By Ofer prison a “protester was hit now in head from tear gas canister,” said Journalist Abir Kopty in a Tweet earlier yesterday. Kopty along with demonstrators Tweeted updates throughout the day, describing the array of crowd dispersal tactics used on the activists.

In response protestors threw stones and burned tires.

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Protestors and the Israeli military outside of Ofer prison. (Photo: Abbas Momani/AFP)
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Protestors clashing with the Israeli military, Kafr Qaddoum. (Photo: Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP)
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Protestors near Ofer prison, May 11, 2012. (Photo: Abbas Momani/AFP)

A cross-section of the West Bank, including children, women and prisoners’ families, took part in today’s actions. Also in Ramallah members of Fatah, Hamas and PFLP were spotted chanting in unison.

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i LOVE these photos, it’s such an exciting time, i get this sense people are it’s getting thru or going to somehow burst out into the world stage at any minute. thanks for a great article allison.

Wow great pics. Thanks.

that picture says it all – israel’s boot on the neck of Palestine (in this case a soldier’s knee) … over 20 years ago I had an israeli boyfriend and he was from a leftist, intellectual family and he said “we took their land and put our boot on their neck and we can never lift it up” … that is the thinking – that revenge will haunt them, hence the endless worsening of the… Read more »

Israel intimidates through rage, anger, violence, killing and wanton destruction. I don’t think Israel will go soft [now] on so many hunger strikers. In fact [I think] Israel even welcomes this self-imposed ‘hunger for death,’ and die they [prisoners] will, because, given Israel’s stellar humanitarian track record, that knee in the neck says it all.

RE: “Protests on behalf of prisoners sweep the West Bank” FROM: US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation SENT: Thursday, May 10, 2012 6:27 PM SUBJECT: Take Action Now to Help Save the Lives of 2,000 Hunger Strikers in Israeli Prisons! As we approach the 64th anniversary of the Nakba — the catastrophe in which more than more than 750,000 Palestinians lost their homes and lands, and thousands of others their lives during the ethnic… Read more »