Gaza, May 5 (IANS) Almost 170 Palestinian protesters were injured on Friday in clashes with Israeli soldiers near the border between eastern Gaza Strip and Israel, an official said.
Ashraf al Qedra, a Palestinian Health Ministry spokesperson, was quoted by Xinhua as saying that 170 demonstrators were injured, sustaining gunshots, rubber bullet injuries and gas suffocation.
Eyewitnesses said after Friday prayers, hundreds headed to five different locations along the border. Israeli soldiers using loudspeakers warned the demonstrators, asking them to “Go home for your safety”.
The protestors rolled burning tires to within 500 meters of the fence.
The Israeli military said some 7,000 Palestinians were protesting along the border. When “violent riots” erupted in five locations, it said troops responded with “riot dispersal means” and live fire.
Sallah Abdul Aati, one of the organizers of the rallies, said the protests will continue.
“The march of the millions is coming and is expected on May 15. This will be the climax of the Great March of Return,” he said.
The protests have been held for six consecutive weeks. As Israel celebrates its 70th independence anniversary, the Palestinians are demanding that the Palestinian refugees forced to leave their homes during the Arab-Israeli War in 1948 be allowed to return.