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Israeli troops fire tear gas at protest in Qalandiya

Aug. 26, 2011 12:48 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 28, 2011 2:44 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli troops fired tear gas on dozens of protesters gathered at Qalandiya checkpoint near Ramallah to call for access to Jerusalem.

Al Jazeera correspondent Shirin Abu Akleh screamed and ducked out of shot as tear gas was seen fired and a group of protesters dispersed.

Youth were seen throwing stones at Israeli forces deployed on the West Bank side of the crossing, Al-Jazeera said.

Palestinian ambulances arrived at the scene as tens of Israeli troops deployed to the area.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said "200 rioters are hurling rocks at security forces, who are responding with riot dispersal means."

Activists had been calling for an "Olive Revolution" at on the last Friday of Ramadan, on the day solidarity groups across the world mark "Al-Quds [Jerusalem] Day."

Palestinians accompanied by Israeli and international supporters planned to march on Jerusalem from north, west, south and east, the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee stated.

Barricades were erected overnight Thursday at the Qalandiya checkpoint leading to its brief closure, a Ma'an correspondent said, allowing Palestinians with permission to pray at Jerusalem's holy site of Al-Aqsa to pass one-by-one Friday morning.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said 37,000 Palestinians entered Jerusalem via Qalandiya for noon prayers Friday.

Dozens gathered at the crossing holding banners calling for entry into Jerusalem.

The demonstrations will "emphasize the fact that Palestinians are systematically denied entry to the city Israel, despite it being part of the territory occupied in 1967," the popular committee said.
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