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Thousands of Palestinians surround Jerusalem Old City

March 17, 2014 12:51 A.M. (Updated: March 17, 2014 1:07 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Thousands of people surrounded Jerusalem's Old City from Bab al-Khalil (Jaffa Gate) to Bab al-Asbat (Lions' Gate) on Sunday in a defiant action marking a reading day celebration.

The Shabab al-Balad initiative organized the event in which people from Jerusalem, Palestinian-Israelis, and some people from the West Bank gathered to read simultaneously.

Hundreds of others in Bethlehem, al-Ram, al-Ismailiya in Egypt, and Amman in Jordan participated.

Shabal al-Balad director Hussam Uliyyan said the goal of the action to circle the Old City was meant to empower the steadfastness of Jerusalem residents in uniting Palestinian culture.

Ulayyan added that the initiative had no political affiliations.

Abu Nidal, a participant in the action, said that “everyone should constantly ask themselves, 'What have I done for Jerusalem? What can I do so Jerusalem can live through its sons and stand in the face of struggle?'"

He added: "This city needs such cultural activities."

Marwan Abu Sneineh, 25, another participant, said these readers were a first line of defense for Jerusalem.

“Tourists and Jewish people who come from Europe and America will see the true face of Jerusalem today,” he said.

Israeli special forces and mounted police dispersed a protest that followed the event. They fired stun grenades, arrested a young man, and left seven others bruised.

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