Three Protesters and a Journalist Arrested During Beit Ummar Demonstration

Beit Ummar demonstrators were attacked by dozens of tear-gas and stun grenades this morning as they approached Road 60 near their village. In response, the road was blocked by protesters for nearly an hour. Soldiers made four arrests, including that of an AP cameraman and a local leader.

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Soldiers arresting an Israeli activist during the demonstration in Beit Ummar today. Picture credit: PSP
Soldiers arresting an Israeli activist during the demonstration in Beit Ummar today. Picture credit: PSP

Dozens of residents of Beit Ummar, accompanied by Israeli and international supporters, marched from the center of the village towards Road 60 that connects Jerusalem with Hebron this morning. The procession was attacked as soon as the large contingent of soldiers, which was positioned at the entrance to the village to to fend off demonstrators, noticed the marchers and without provocation.

Demonstrators continued to advance towards the road despite the attack, and managed to block it for almost an hour in response to the Army's aggressiveness, for the second time in two weeks. Two Israeli activists were arrested soon after protesters took over the road, and were taken to the Kiryat Arba police station. When demonstrators were not deterred by the initial violence, soldiers continued to target people holding a camera, arresting an AP cameraman, Nasser Shyouhi, and breaking numerous cameras. Youssef Abu Marya, the coordinator of the Beit Ummar National committee, the group that organized the protest today was also arrested.

Soldiers arresting Nasser Shyouhi, an AP cameraman, during the demonstration in Beit Ummar today.
Soldiers arresting Nasser Shyouhi, an AP cameraman, during the demonstration in Beit Ummar today. Picture credit: PSP

After finally dispersing the demonstrators, who remained peaceful despite the attack on them, the Army invaded the town in large forces. Soldiers occupied at least one house in the village without showing its owner a seizure order as required by law. Following the aggressive invasion, clashes ensued between local youth who tried to ward off the incursion by throwing stones at the armored jeeps, and between soldiers who used tear-gas, stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets.

Beit Ummar is located eleven kilometers northwest of West Bank city of Hebron and is home to roughly 14,500 people.