Freedom in Colours: Clowns, occupation and teargas

by Anarchists Against the Wall: 25 June 2011

Video by David Reeb

Video by Jan Beddegenoodts

This Friday Palestinian youth from the March 15 movement gathered early in the morning in the village of Nabi Saleh to prepare colorful kites, balloons, make-ups, wigs and masks as part of a fun day for the local kids, dubbed “freedom in colors”. Israeli army and police forces attacked the peaceful clown-looking children and youths with tear gas and stun grenades.

Roughly 80 demonstrators, including about a dozen of Nabi Saleh children as well as international and Israeli supporters, held a colorful march through the village of Nabi Saleh, protesting the Israeli occupation and the settler takeover of the village farmlands and spring. Just as soon as Israeli forces had the march on sight and only a minute into its start, demonstrators were attacked with tear gas canisters. An 11 year old girl was shot in the back with a tear gas canister shot through directly aiming at protesters.

After about 20 minutes of rounds of tear gas some demonstrators managed to get close by to the Israeli forces and join Nabi Saleh children, who were coming from a different direction to stand in front of the armed soldiers. An Israeli cameraman was detained during that time. Some children waived Palestinian flags which were twice violently grabbed from them and confiscated by one of the soldiers. The soldiers threw stun and tear gas hand grenades to disperse the singing children.

Soldiers stationed above one of the village’s hills shot a tear gas canister which almost hit a 4 year old kid playing next to his home. Adults rushed to calm and treat him for tear gas inhalation. Later on they carried him to its shooters for a closer look.

After a while, the Israeli soldiers started going up the village’s main street. They stopped next to one of the houses and broke into its yard, pushing its resident. The soldiers than left the house and went up towards the village’s center. In the meantime, demonstrators went the other way, towards the hill that overlooks the village’s spring. While sitting below a tree, demonstrators were attacked from behind by Israeli soldiers with tear gas hand grenades. A few people required medical attention for tear gas inhalation.

Even after the sun began to set, Israeli forces were still amidst the village, shooting at whomever was on sight and randomly at the village’s populated area. During these long sunny hours soldiers threw stun grenades at houses’ entrances and roofs, used tear gas canisters as large bullets shot directly at people, and close to the day’s end, also shot live ammunition above the heads of youths.