Thursday, July 16, 2020

Annual womenís day demonstration in Qalandia refugee camp

By Claire Matsunami - March 11, 2014
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [women‘s rights] [Qalandia Refugee Camp] [Qalandiya checkpoint]

On 8 March over 100 demonstrators gathered at the gate to Qalandia refugee camp outside Ramallah to march for International Women’s Day.  

The majority of demonstrators were women, though several men accompanied the march.   Demonstrators marched from the gate of the refugee camp to Qalandia checkpoint, which separates Ramallah and Jerusalem.  They chanted and carried signs with messages such as “Boycott Israel” and “The Palestinian women want to end occupation.”

The Israeli military had shut the checkpoint in anticipation of the demonstration. When the demonstrators reached the locked gate, they attempted to break it open and walk through. One woman secured a Palestinian flag atop the fence. Soldiers began to throw stun grenades and tear gas as a number of demonstrators threw stones and sticks over the gate. Most attendees scattered after the tear gas began, but several young women and men remained behind to continue to throw stones over the barrier. The demonstration remained for about an hour.

Over 11 Palestinians were injured in the initial demonstration, many suffered from tear gas inhalation, and at least one journalist was wounded by a tear gas canister.  

After the demonstration dispersed, several teenage boys attempted to set fire to the separation barrier using tires. The military opened the checkpoint gate and came through to throw stun grenades and tear gas at the boys. They then began to shoot rubber bullets, and at least one person was hospitalized as a result. 

“Every year we come to this check point voicing our message about resisting the occupation and respecting the right of Palestinian self determination,” Amal Kreisheh said in an interview with the Palestine Monitor. Kreisheh is the head of the Palestinian Working Women’s Society for Development. During the demonstration she passed out flyers emphasizing the need forempowering and mobilizing women’s participation in the struggle against the Israeli occupation.”  

Her organization teamed up with several others to stage the demonstration, including the Human Rights and Democracy Media Center (SHAMS) and the Union of Palestinian Women Committees. Celebrations were held throughout the occupied Palestinian territory.

Samar Awehda, an activist at the demonstration, spoke with the Palestine Monitor about why she participated in the women’s day demonstration: “We are suffering double.  We as women are suffering from the occupation and we are suffering as women. We are fighting for our rights as women and we are fighting for our rights as Palestinians.”

International Women’s Day demonstrations have been held in Palestine since 1978.  

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