Israeli security forces clashed with a crowd of Palestinians at a West Bank checkpoint on Friday. As many as 40 youths were wounded as the annual Land Day rallies descended into violence.
Police fired rubber bullets and used tear gas to prevent a group of youths nearing the frontier which allows access to Jerusalem.
Ahead of the rallies, Israeli authorities upped security at internal checkpoints and borders with neighbouring Arab countries after last year’s demonstrations turned deadly. Several people were killed when Israeli forces opened fire on protesters attempting to storm the borders.
Land Day is an iconic moment in the history of the Palestinian conflict. It commemorates the killing by Israeli troops of six Arabs in 1976 during protests about land confiscation. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians lost their land over a 20-year period during Arab-Israeli wars.
Several thousand people joined in the protests in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Supporters in neighbouring Lebanon and Syria were also due to hold rallies close to their border with Israel as part of a ‘Global March to Jerusalem’.
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