Israeli forces clash with Palestinian protesters in Bethlehem

Press TV – Israeli forces have clashed with a group of Palestinians demonstrating to express their solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners in Israeli jails.

The scuffles broke out in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Friday, when Israel policemen fired stun grenades and tear gas canisters to disperse the Palestinian protesters, who responded with throwing rocks using slingshots.

At least one protester was detained at Friday’s march and several others suffered from suffocation.

The demonstrators rallied from al-Azzah refugee camp to the north of Bethlehem, carrying signs and chanting slogans in support of the hunger-striking prisoners.

Demonstrators hold Palestinian flags during a protest in support of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, outside Ofer Prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah, April 20, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

A similar protest was held outside the Israeli-run Ofer prison near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on Thursday, with Israeli forces suppressing the event.

Over 2,000 prisoners from all Palestinian political factions are taking part in an open-ended hunger strike to denounce harsh prison conditions and restrictions on family visits.

The long-planned mass strike, which is led by a jailed leader of the Fatah Movement, Marwan Barghouti, began on April 17.

According to the figures provided by the Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer in January, 6,500 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli jails, 536 of them arbitrarily.

Palestinian prisoners have continuously resorted to open-ended hunger strikes in an attempt to voice their outrage at the so-called administrative detention, which is a form of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows Israel to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months,

Palestinian detainees complain that they have been subjected to assault and torture at Israeli prisons.

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