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Nil'in anti-wall protest damages wall, marchers pass into stolen land

Sept. 18, 2009 11:01 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 21, 2009 11:09 A.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - More than 100 of farmers, youth, international and Israeli peace activists marched against the Israeli separation wall Friday, and armed with car tires and home made ladder to climb the high wall they managed to burn one section and pull down three others.

According to participants one of the youth passed over the wall and set fire to car tires, damaging the fence and the sensors attached to it. A second group of youth burned a stack of 10 tires at one of the gates in the concrete wall, with black smoke billowing toward the nearby settlement.

"This is the first message sent from N'lin's people that the wall will not prevent them from going to their lands that was taken from them," a statement from the local popular committee said.

The committee reported that groups of demonstrators were met by 70 soldiers and 15 jeeps. Dozens of tear gas canisters were launched at the ralliers and many suffered from temporary respiratory problems due to the noxious fumes.

Youth, who had been collecting full tear gas canisters that failed to detonate over the past several weeks of protests, began shooting these back to the soldiers. "This was a strong message from the village: 'shoot us, and we will shoot back'," the statement said.

Another youth climbed the concrete wall and tied rope to the hand-sized holes in the top of each slab. Together protesters pulled on the rope and reportedly managed to take down three concrete blocks of the Wall. "This is the first time something like this has ever been happened, and the people were happy to have such a success," the committee said. "This was the third message: one day the wall will fall and Ni'lin will be the start."

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