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Thousands march to commemorate Land Day

March 30, 2015 1:28 P.M. (Updated: March 30, 2015 10:05 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- More than 2,000 Palestinians in southern Nablus took part in a march to mark the 39th anniversary of Land Day on Monday, commemorating Palestinian protests against Israeli land seizures that were violently suppressed on Mar. 30, 1976.

More than 15 Palestinians suffered tear-gas inhalation when Israeli forces attempted to suppress the march, which took place in the village of Huwwara.

The injured included Fatah member of the Palestinian Legislative Council Walid Assaf.

Many were treated on the spot while others were taken to hospitals for treatment.

Hundreds of soldiers were reportedly deployed, witnesses said.

Protesters waved Palestinian flags and repeated slogans calling for Palestinian unity and demanding an end to the Israeli occupation.

Other Palestinian leaders taking part in the march included Mahmoud al-Aloul, a member of Fatah's Central Committee, Qais Abd al-Karim, member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine's politburo, and MP Mustafa al-Barghouthi, among others.

More marches are expected to take place across the West Bank to commemorate Land Day.

The 1976 protests against Israeli land confiscations were sparked when Israeli authorities announced plans to confiscate 21,000 dunams (5,190 acres) of land from several Palestinian villages in Galilee, northern Israel.

Palestinians living in these villages called a general strike, and clashes broke out when Israeli forces attempted to suppress the strike.

Six Palestinians were killed, four by the Israeli army and two by Israeli police, and more than a hundred were injured.

The day marked the first mass act by Palestinians living inside Israel and also served as a major symbol of the unity of Palestinians on both sides of the 1949 Armistice Line.

Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, whose population has risen from approximately 150,000 in 1976 to some 1.3 million today, still mark Land Day to demonstrate their continued will to hold onto their land and homes.

In recent years, Israel has deployed large numbers of soldiers in the days leading up to Land Day, and Israeli forces have regularly fired on protesters commemorating the day.
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