JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli polices forces violently dispersed a Palestinian protest in the occupied East Jerusalem village of al-Tur on Wednesday, amid complaints that authorities’ closure of the village’s main road is a form of “collective punishment” against locals.
Sources told Ma’an that dozens of residents of the neighborhood on the Mount of Olives as well as foreign activists carried out a sit-in on al-Tur’s main street to protest Israeli authorities’ decision to shut down major thoroughfare Suleiman al-Farsi street with two concrete blocks.
The street was closed earlier this week when locals protested against the death of a 17-year-old boy from the area who was shot dead after a scuffle with a soldier at a nearby checkpoint.Mufid Abu Ghannam, director of a local activist committee, told Ma’an that Israeli forces assaulted protesters on Wednesday and launched stun grenades at sit-in participants, injuring two people with shrapnel in their lower extremities.
Israeli forces also reportedly detained two Palestinian protesters, Amjad al-Shami and Youssef Khuweis.Abu Ghannam said that even after protesters had dispersed, Israeli forces continued firing stun grenades at people in the area.Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirmed the incident, saying that police used stun grenades against protesters after they blocked roads in what he called an “illegal demonstration” in which “stones were thrown at police officers who were at the scene.”
Rosenfeld denied any injuries in the incident.The sit-in on the main street of al-Tur was held concurrently with rallies at five schools in the village, where students carried out sit-ins in school yards in protest against the closure of the village’s entrance
Suleiman al-Farsi Street is considered the main entrance to the village, and local activists told Ma’an that the closure of the road negatively affected the ability of 3,000 local residents to live normally. The closure also prevents ambulances and fire trucks from reaching the village.The thoroughfare is also the main road leading to the Suleiman al-Farsi mosque, the village cemetery, and two elementary schools where some 1,200 students attend.The closure of the roads followed widespread protests against the killing of Muhammad Abu Ghannam on Saturday as he crossed the al-Zayyim checkpoint on foot resulted in widespread protests.