Palestinians protest in support of prisoners

IDF says it used crowd dispersal means, including rubber bullets; activists say some 20 protesters are injured; four soldiers injured by rock-throwing.

Protests near Ofer Prison 370 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
Protests near Ofer Prison 370 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
IDF forces used crowd dispersal means against some 250 Palestinian protesters outside the Ofer Military Prison in the West Bank Wednesday, in the second straight day of protests held in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners.
The IDF said some of the protesters threw stones at army personnel.  Four soldiers were lightly injured, two of whom were taken to the Hadassah hospital for treatment, according to Israel Radio. Soldiers responded with various crowd dispersal means, including rubber bullets. No arrests were made, a spokesman said.
While the IDF said one protestor was lightly injured at the scene, Abir Kopty of the Popular Struggle Resistance Committee said she counted 20 injured protestors, including four or five who were taken away by ambulance.
She said that like Tuesday, there was in her estimation a "higher than normal" amount of rubber bullets used by IDF forces.
On Tuesday, a similar protest took place in which one young female protester managed to climb atop an IDF water cannon at the scene and raised a Palestinian flag. Video of the incident shows her being apprehended by Border Police forces who used pepper spray but did not arrest them.
On Thursday, activists were planning another protest in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners at the Ramle prison hospital, where some of the prisoners are being held.
Organizers said the protest was against the practice of administrative detention.
At least 1,200 Palestinian prisoners launched an open-ended hunger strike on April 17.
Besides administrative detention, the hunger strikers are protesting solitary confinement, restrictions on visits, strip searches of certain visitors and access to studying for academic degrees.
The start of the strike last week coincided with the release of Khader Adnan, a prisoner who refused food for 66 days before agreeing to a deal under which he was freed. Adnan is a member of Islamic Jihad.
The striking prisoners said they would drink only water and salt until their demands are met.
Reuters contributed to this report.