A peaceful march in front of Qalandiya refugee camp, staged in solidarity with some 1,500 Palestinian prisoners who have been on hunger strike for more than a week, escalated into clashes late Tuesday night, with Israeli soldiers firing tear gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets at dozens of Palestinians who threw rocks, empty bottles, and Molotov cocktails at soldiers, local sources said.
Four Palestinians were shot and injured with rubber-coated steel bullets while dozens suffered from tear-gas inhalation fired by Israeli soldiers stationed near the Qalandiya military checkpoint north of Jerusalem in the central occupied West Bank.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that they were looking into the reports.
Demonstrations have been organized daily since hundreds of Palestinians declared an open-ended hunger strike on Palestinian Prisoner’s Day, April 17, demanding and end to the torture, ill treatment, and medical neglect of Palestinian prisoners at the hands of Israeli authorities, as well as Israel’s widespread use of administrative detention — internment without trial or charges.
A march Monday evening from Ramallah city to the DCO checkpoint near the illegal settlement of Beit El was violently suppressed by Israeli forces, who shot and injured nine young Palestinian men after clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli soldiers.
The Fatah movement, which organized the hunger strike, has meanwhile called for a general strike to be held across the occupied Palestinian territory this coming Thursday in solidarity with the hunger strikers, and also pronounced Friday to be a “day of rage,” urging the Palestinian people to “clash with the occupier” on that day.
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