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European politicians attacked, seven injured at Bil'in protest

Oct. 31, 2008 7:17 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 31, 2008 7:17 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - Seven protesters including two French peace activists were injured by Israeli soldiers who fired live ammunition at a group of protesters at an anti-wall demonstration in the West Bank city of Bil'in near Ramallah.

Among the protesters were Italian Euro-MP Luisa Morgantini and British Liberal Democrat Chris Davies, who was beated by Israeli soldiers.

Residents of the village took into the streets alongside international peace activists after the Friday prayers as has become customary over the past three years.

This week protesters commemorated the 52nd anniversary of the Kafr Qasim massacre, where Israeli police killed 48 Palestinians in one evening; as well as the 91st anniversary of the Belfour declaration in which the British government declared that Palestine could be a homeland for the Jewish people.

The protestors carried Palestinian flags and chanted slogans denouncing the Israeli occupation and its acts of land confiscation; for the construction of the wall, settlements and the installation of checkpoints; for assaulting Palestinian prisoners and killing civilians.

Morgantini spoke to the gathered protesters and expressed European solidarity with Palestinians who have the right to struggle against the construction of the separation wall and the right to live in freedom. Both Morgantini and Davis were attacked by the Israeli soldiers, and Davis sustained mild injuries.

After reaching near the wall, the soldiers closed the gate installed in the wall to prevent the demonstrators from passing into the village lands. When they proceeded towards the gate Israeli soldiers opened fire with live bullets, sound bombs, tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets.

Dozens suffocated on tear gas and seven were injured including two French nationals, journalist Maysun Azzam, correspondent of Al-A'rabeya Satellite channel in Palestine and Iyad Burnat, Adeeb Abu Rahmah, Kamal Kamel Abu Rahmah and Abdallah Abu Rahmah.

The protest was also participated by delegations from France, Belgium representatives of solidarity movements with the Palestinians who listened to detailed explanation from the popular committee on Bil'in's anti wall experience.

Earlier this week a media representative for the British and European politicians who participated in the rally sent a press release stating that the two would be participating in the rally in nearby Ni'lin in advance of their European Parliament delegation visit to Ramallah. They attended the Bil'in rally.
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