Land Day; Palestinians commemorate the events of March 30,1976, when a Israeli plan to expropriate thousands of dunams from Palestinian villages sparked a national protest inside Israel. On that day, Israeli security forces attacked protesters, resulted in the deadly shooting of six Palestinian Arabs, as well as hundreds of casualties and arrests. From that date forward, every year Palestinians citizens in Israel, Palestinians in the occupied territories (oPt) and around the world, commemorate that day and protest the discriminatory land policies carried out by the Israeli government.
In Jerusalem some hundred protesters had gathered outside Damascus Gate in the old city. One would think that a day, with such symbolic connotations, would have attracted more people. The crowd, however, consisted more of spectaors, international activists and media. But the most visual presence was still of the police and the army. It was a somewhat caotic scene that met us when we arrived. A big group ( 70- 100 person, mostly men, but also children and older women), gathered at the corner, next to the bus station. It hard to get an overview. At a split of a second, some people start running in different directions. A group of army men comes running towards. I hear a big blast right next to me. At the same time a kid, no more than 13-14 turns toward the army, and manages to throw a handsize rock. At the same moment, an ambulance stops next to me to pick up another wounded man. Its strange to see the amount of heavy armed personell that is put in to controll this small group of people. It makes one think that that beeing one of the reasons for the low turn-up. At one point I find myself standing in a narrow part of the street| between the buildings and the road blocks. Suddenly two police men on horses come in full speed towards us. People get smashed to the wall, some fall and are almost trampled on. This is perhaps the most intimidating tactic used to create fear, and to disperse people. During the confrontation, fourteen are arrested, numerous Palestinians are wounded and evacuated by the Red Crescent.
For more news and images from Land Day, check out Al Jazeera: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/03/201233043554778572.html