Organizers: Global March to J'lem reached goals

Police say crowd numbers at Land Day protests were relatively small, but organizers tout participation in 84 countries.

March 31, 2012 11:27
1 minute read.
Man atop flag pole in Land Day protest in Lebanon

Man atop flag pole in Land Day protest in Lebanon 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Organizers of Friday's Global March to Jerusalem said Saturday that the protest rally commemorating Land Day had achieved most of its goals, adding that the number of countries joining in protest activities is of greater importance than the number of participants in rallies.

Palestinian activists called for a Global March to Jerusalem to coincide with the 36th anniversary of Land Day, and although there were rallies in Israel, police said crowd numbers were relatively small and largely trouble free.

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Israeli forces were put on high alert on the frontiers with Lebanon and Syria, but there were no reports of anyone nearing the frontier fences.

Palestinian news agency Ma'an quoted general coordinator of the march, Ribhi Halloum, as saying that the rally lay the groundwork for future activity and proved that "the Palestinian people are still present and are still holding fast to their land."

Halloum claimed that activists from 84 countries participated in various pro-Palestinian rallies around the world on Friday.

Israeli security forces shot dead one man in the Gaza Strip on Friday, medics said, and clashed with Palestinian stone-throwers around Jerusalem during Land Day rallies that turned violent.

Border police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades at crowds of Palestinian youths who tried to break past checkpoints to the north and south of Jerusalem in coordinated protests to mark supposed Israeli land confiscations in the 1970s.

Medics in the Gaza Strip said the soldiers used live fire to prevent protesters from approaching the border of the coastal enclave, killing a 20-year-old man and wounding 37 others.

Violence flared at checkpoints in the West Bank to the north and south of Jerusalem. Witnesses also reported disturbances at gateways into the Old City, with police limiting access to the Aqsa Mosque.

A West Bank medic said 220 people were hurt in the clashes, but none were thought to be in serious condition.

Ma'an qouted the protest's organizers as saying similar rallies were being planned for Nakba Day on May 15, in which Palestinians mourn the creation of the State of Israel.

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