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Home > News & Analysis > From the Media
Protester dies as Palestinians mark Land Day
Al Jazeera, Mar 31, 2012

Israeli troops have shot dead a Palestinian man in northern Gaza after a day of protest which saw thousands of people rallying to mark Land Day, a medical spokesman said.

Israeli security forces also fired rubber coated bullets, tear gas and stun grenades to break up groups of Palestinian demonstrators in the occupied West Bank on Friday.

At least 121 people were injured in clashes at the Qalandiya checkpoint on the outskirts of Jerusalem, mostly from tear gas inhalation, medical sources told Al Jazeera.

Palestinian activists had called for a "Global March to Jerusalem" to mark the day when Palestinian Israelis protest against government policies that they say has stripped them of land.

Five medical workers were also reported to have been shot with rubber coated bullets and one car was set ablaze.

Al Jazeera's Cal Perry reported that Israeli security forces tried to push hundreds of protesters back toward the nearby West Bank town of Ramallah, using water cannon and tear gas.

Rocks were thrown, tyres set alight and Red Crescent ambulances could be seen at the scene.

"This is a place where we frequently see clashes, and what we're seeing here is the Israeli army needing to put a barrier up and not let people through," our correspondent said.

"These clashes seem to be a bit more fierce today, and have started earlier in the day than usual."

Access limited

Medics in the Gaza Strip said Israeli security forces also used live fire to prevent protesters from nearing the frontier wall.

Mahmud Zakut, 20, was killed in Beit Hanun in an area near the border fence with Israel, emergency services spokesman Adham Abu Selmiya said in a statement sent to AFP news agency.

Israeli forces were put on high alert at frontier crossings with Lebanon and Syria, but there were no reports of anyone nearing the border fences, unlike last year when several demonstrators were killed in separate protests.

However, violence flared at checkpoints in the West Bank to the north and south of Jerusalem.

Witnesses also reported disturbances at gates leading into the Old City, with police limiting access to the Muslims' revered al-Aqsa Mosque.

A Reuters news agency reporter saw two men being carried away injured after scuffles at Jerusalem's Lions' Gate, while police said they had made five arrests at the Damascus Gate.

Jerusalem is a focal point of conflict, as Palestinians want the city's eastern sector, captured by Israel in a 1967 war, as capital of a future state.

Israel has annexed East Jerusalem as part of its capital and insists the city remain united.

Six UN Security Council resolutions have denounced or declared invalid Israel's control of the city.

"We are determined to march together toward Jerusalem, and hopefully we will break through and reach it," said a masked youth, calling himself Rimawi, as he faced off against soldiers in Ramallah.

Flag-waving crowds neared the Qalandiya crossing out of Ramallah, some of them hurling stones at the security forces, but were forced back when border police sprayed them with foul smelling liquid from a water cannon.

There were also confrontations in Bethlehem, where Palestinians hurled petrol bombs at an Israeli watchtower.

Other events were held in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, were at least three people were wounded in clashes with the Israeli border police, medical sources told Al Jazeera.

To continue reading this article, please visit Al Jazeera.


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