Protesters in Israel´s neighbors mark Land Day (JERUSALEM POST) By JPOST COM STAFF 03/30/12)
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Protesters gathered in Israel´s neighboring countries on Friday for
demonstrations marking the 36th annual Land Day, including in
Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.
While a demonstration in Jordan attracted up to 15,000 people,
according to AFP, numbers were far smaller in Israel´s northern
neighbor, Lebanon, as Lebanese security forces attempted to prevent a
repeat of fatal protests that occurred along the border with Israel
In Syria, despite a a brutal year-long conflict between the
government in Damascus and an armed opposition, protesters rallied in
Damascus in solidarity for both the Palestinians on Land Day and for
Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Activists in Israel´s southern neighbor, Egypt, had planned
demonstrations, but leading organizers told Al Jazeera they needed to
call the marches off due to heightened security and a tense political
situation in the country.
Hundreds of people gathered at Lebanon´s Beaufort Castle near the
border with Israel on Friday to take part in Land Day demonstrations
amid heightened security by Lebanese forces.
The rally attracted people of all ages to the scenic fortress, where
Lebanese security forces had erected a barbed wire fence on the
southern side of the hill to contain protesters, the Lebanese English-
Language The Daily Star reported.
About 200 foreign activists, including two US rabbis, arrived at
Beaufort Castle to join the rally, according to the Star.
Earlier last week, event organizers told the Star they predicted as
many as 5,000 protesters to participate in the demonstration marking
Land Day, which was coupled with the highly-publicized "Global March
Authorities in Lebanon were on high alert to prevent a repeat of last
years Nakba Day protests, in which at least 10 people were killed
near the border with Israel, and erected checkpoints on roads in
Lebanon´s south to prevent demonstrators from encroaching on the
In Syria, thousands of protesters gathered in Damascus´ al-Sabaa
square to mark Land Day, according to Reuters. The protesters also
expressed solidarity with Assad, with many of them waving Syrian
flags and holding up pictures of the embattled leader.
Protests from Syria were particularly violent in the past, with
demonstrators twice challenging Israeli sovereignty during Nakba Day
and Naksa Day protests in 2011.
In Jordan, approximately 15,000 protesters assembled on the border
with Israel to mark Land Day, according to AFP.
The demonstration was attended by members from the Muslim Brotherhood
and anti-Zionist ultra-orthodox Jews.
Protesters waved Palestinian flags and called for the liberation of
Jerusalem. Hammam Said, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood branch in
Jordan, said: "The Israelis have stolen Palestine. We will return to
the Holy Land and restore our rights. We will not forget their
crimes." The demonstration remained non-violent.
In Egypt, meanwhile, security forces prevented mass protests in Egypt
to mark Land Day, while organizers in Cairo called off another
demonstration due to the political situation in Egypt, Al Jazeera
reported according to pro-Palestinian activists.
Gamal Abdel Salaam, a leading organizer in the Al-Quds Committee in
Egypt, told Al Jazeera that Egyptian security forces prevented a
march from Cairo University in Giza to the grounds of the Great
Pyramids, despite the organization receiving approval "from all
Another activist and director of the Center for Palestine Studies in
Cairo, Ibrahim Al-Darawi, told Al Jazeera that a massive
demonstration from the Al Azhar Mosque was called off due to
Egypt´s "internal situation... and political tensions at the current
Abdel Salaam insisted that despite calling off his organization´s
march, his group would continue to work "for the sake of Jerusalem
and address attempts by the Israeli occupation to Judaize [the
city]." (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 03/30/12)
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