Thousands of Palestinians Mourn Protester
Mustafa Tamimi, Killed at Nabi Saleh by Israeli Occupation Forces
Thousands mourn protester killed at Nabi Saleh
Ma'an, December 11, 2011.(Reuters/Mohamad Torokman) NABI SALEH (AFP)
Thousands of Palestinians gathered in the West Bank village of Nabi
Saleh on Sunday to mourn a man who died after being hit in the head by
an Israeli occupation forces tear gas canister.
body was taken from the city of Ramallah in a funeral procession to the
central Manara Square before being driven by ambulance to his home
village of Nabi Saleh.
Tamimi was critically wounded in the
village on Friday by an Israeli tear gas canister that hit him in the
head after being fired at close range. He was evacuated to an Israeli
hospital but died the next day of his wounds.
In Nabi Saleh,
around 2,000 people gathered to receive the 28-year-old's body, which
was draped with the Palestinian flag, his head covered with the
black-and-white checkered kuffiyeh scarf.
The crowd waved
Palestinian flags and the yellow flag of the Fatah movement of President
Mahmoud Abbas, many weeping and others chanting angrily.
response will come tonight," some mourners shouted, warning that "no one
will stop us."
Lawmaker Walid Assaf, head of the Palestinian
Legislative Council's committee against settlements, told mourners that
peaceful protests should continue despite the incident.
want to turn our unarmed struggle into an armed struggle," he said. "But
this will not change our policy of peaceful struggle against settlements
and against the occupation."
Tamimi's body was taken into his
mother's house, where weeping relatives surrounded him for a final
goodbye before his burial at the village cemetery.
reacts after being hit by a tear gas canister
After his burial, clashes broke out as a hundreds
of mourners marched towards Israeli soldiers standing by near the
funeral, some of them throwing stones at the troops, who responded with
clouds of tear gas.
Tamimi was hit by a canister during a weekly
Friday protest against the nearby settlement of Halamish, which
activists say sits on stolen village land and has blocked their access
to the village spring.
A photograph distributed by activists
purportedly showing Tamimi seconds before he was hit shows a tear gas
canister flying towards him, apparently having been shot from the back
of a military vehicle just meters away.
Tamimi was flown by
helicopter to an Israeli hospital near Tel Aviv after the incident.
"He was shot from close range, around 20 meters, with a tear gas
projectile that hit him in the eye," said Jonathan Pollak, a veteran
Israeli activist who was at the demonstration.
Pollak said three
other people sustained head injuries during the same demonstration.
A spokeswoman for the Israeli military told AFP on Friday that
around 100 Palestinians had taken part in an "illegal demonstration,
during which they hurled rocks at security forces, who responded with
riot dispersal means."
She said the army provided initial medical
care to Tamimi and evacuated him to hospital, but could not provide
further details on the incident, which she said was being investigated.
The Israeli rights group B'tselem says Tamimi was the 20th person to
be killed at similar West Bank demonstrations over the past eight years.
He was the first person to be killed in Nabi Saleh demonstrations in two
B'tselem spokeswoman Sarit Michaeli said the group was
calling for a full military probe into who shot the fatal round, who
ordered the shooting and the practice of firing tear gas canisters
directly at protesters.
"The most serious issue is that the
military is regularly firing tear gas canisters directly at Palestinian
demonstrators risking their death, contrary to their orders," she told
Shawan Jabarin, head of Palestinian rights group Al-Haq,
condemned Tamimi's death as the result of Israeli practices "that
violently deny the freedom of expression and assembly by any means
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