Some 1,000 demonstrators arrived at the Palestinian village of Bil'in Friday for the weekly protest against the West Bank security fence.
The protestors hurled stones at security forces, who responded with tear gas and rubber coated bullets.
The protestors included Israeli, Palestinian and foreign activists, as well as Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. The number of demonstrators was higher than usual on the occasion of the year's end, with protest organizers declaring it "the fence's last day," said Yonatan Pollack of the Anarchists against the Fence movement.
Ahead of the protest, IDF forces sealed off the entry and exit points to the village and did not allow anyone to go through, with the exception of medical teams and journalists, in an effort to minimize the number of protestors. Nonetheless, many demonstrators managed to make their way to the village via hills, fields, and other open areas.
The demonstrators said that the IDF fired large quantities of tear gas at them even before the protest got underway, claiming that one of the protestors was hurt by a gas canister.
The IDF issued the following statement: "Every week, violent and illegal disruptions take place at the village of Bil'in. In the wake of the latest assessments, the protest zone had been designated ahead of a time as a closed military zone in order to prevent violent, illegal riots."
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