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It began as a usual demonstration, one of those that take place in Bil'in every Friday. But this time, with the 39th anniversary of the occupation approaching, public personalities were invited to lead the march. Among them was Rafiq al-Husseini, Chief of Staff of Mahmoud Abbas, Sari Nusseibeh, President of al-Kuds university, Mustafa Barghouti, former candidate for the presidency of the PA, and others. On the Israeli side, Uri Avnery of Gush Shalom and MK Muhammad Barakeh took part.
When the villagers, together with the Israeli and international demonstrators approached the Fence, the way was blocked by barbed wire and two armored cars, on which heavily armed Border Policemen, equipped with helmets and shields, were in position.
The villagers demanded to continue on their way to their land, which has been cut off by the Fence. When the soldiers did not react, the villagers removed with much courage the barbed wire and came into close contact with the policemen, risking being arrested or wounded by blows or rubber-coated bullets. The policemen hit the demonstrators with their clubs and bombarded them with tear gas containers. Soon clashes started all over the area, with units of the Border Police attacking the demonstrators.
The demonstrators dispersed in the area, and then were attacked from different directions by units of the Border Police. In one of the clashes, a commander was heard shouting to his club-wielding men: "Break their bones!"
MK Barakeh approached the ranking officer and called: "Your man has been recorded giving the order to break our bones! I shall lodge a complaint!"
The officer replied: "Are you threatening us?"
Barakeh: "I shall complain about you too!"
The officer turned to his men and shouted: ""You are witnesses! He is threatening an officer!"
See and Hear for yourself - click here to watch video of the incident (video by Eran Vered, Mishtara.org)
After two hours of clashes, the demonstrators decided to end the action and return to the village. Within minutes, they were showered with tear gas from all directions. Youngsters from the village reacted by throwing stones, and the battle continued for some time.