Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Land Day, residents of Nabi Saleh, and many solidarity activists from Palestine and the world marched towards ‘ayn al-Qaws, the spring and adjacent lands expropriated by the Israeli settlers. Land Day was first marked on 30 March 1976 with a massive demonstration in the Galilee, northern Palestine, when the Israeli police brutally dispersed marchers, killing six of them. since then, Land Day has been commemorated mainly within the 1948 borders, but after the first intifada, the day was more commonly marked by Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.
Israeli soldiers fired barrages of tear gas at the demonstrators, who marched waving the Palestinian flag and olive branches, marking Palestinian rootedness and profound connection to the land. Protesters were able to reach the spring, while settlers retaliated by attacking Palestinian journalists and damaging their equipment, as soldiers hurled stun grenades and threatened to pepper spray Palestinians if they do not disperse. Then, as Palestinians retreated, the soldiers fired many rounds of tear gas canisters. I suffered from asphyxiation from the gas, gasping for air, as my lungs and eyes were burning for several minutes. Another Palestinian woman collapsed after inhaling the gas. In addition,, the soldiers fired the new, long-range, tear gas canisters and hit a Palestinian boy. Finally, there is no reliable information as to the long-term health-related effects of exposure to tear gas, but several villagers are reporting visible deterioration of their health as a result of repeated inhalation of tear gas, during demonstrations and military raids, including occasions when the army fires tear gas into residential homes.
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