By Abubaker Abrahams
Following a successful mass protest yesterday, a group of about 50 community members joined the Al-Quds Foundation for a picket in Wale Street in the CBD today, to show their unwavering support to the beleaguered Palestinians. Despite the announcement that Israeli authorities have eased some of the security detail at Al Aqsa, locals say they will keep the issue on the public agenda.
Hajji Yunus Allie from the Al-Quds Foundation led the picket and praised the Palestinians especially the youth in Palestine for their nonstop efforts and persistence in forcing Israeli officials to remove the metal detectors and security cameras at the Al-Aqsa compound. He further urged youth to connect with youth in Palestine and join the second picket that will take place tomorrow between 2pm to 3pm at the same venue.
“The message today to the youth and everyone else is, to get to grips with what’s happening. Every youth has a cellular phone are using it for many things. We appeal to the youth to keep contact with the Palestinian youth in Palestine, use your cellular phones correctly so that you can part of the liberation of al-Aqsa,” said Allie.
Many picketers today just wanted to show there committed support to the Palestinian struggle and with “Victory Victory Palestine” slogans still sounding at the pickets, some still feel the victory for Palestinians is still far from over.
With Takbeer and Tahleel thousands of joyous Palestinians entered Masjidul Aqsa in joy for the first time in two weeks today. After getting Israel to remove much of its control measures at the gates of Aqsa, they were also forced to open the last remaining door that was closed – Bab al Huttah.
But the triumph was short lived, Palestinians who went to perform Asr Salah in the masjid were confronted by security forces inside the compound. By late afternoon, Ma’an news reported that Israeli forces fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at worshipers. The Palestinian Red Crescent said at least 37 worshipers were treated with medical care.
Earlier in the day, Palestinian archaeologist, Dr. Abeer Zayyad, said the imam of Masjid al-Aqsa, Shaykh Umar al-Kiswani and other religious leaders had been barred from entering the precinct.
“Data is very mixed now; we were supposed to enter the mosque. But when we want to enter, the guards entered the mosque first and they want to enter the Bab al Huttah gate. Immediately the police came and say ‘it is in our dreams to open this gate again’. Immediately the guards got out of the mosque and they also refused to allow Shaykh Umar al-Kiswani and for other leaders to enter the mosque.”
Zayyad says that Palestinians calling for control of their religious site have announced a continuation of protests.
“Now we decided to continue protesting till they enter Bab al Huttah and allow our Shaykhs to enter. So for now it’s very mixed – each moment everything changes.” VOC