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Israeli Settler Groups Protest Against Police Shootings

Jerusalem (Xinhua) — Right-wing activists on March 3 held protests in what they called a “Day of Rage” at several locations in Jerusalem, intersections in the West Bank and elsewhere within Israel over the razing of illegal structures at a West Bank outpost on Monday.

Settlement movement leaders from the Council of Judea and Samaria Communities, however, said they opposed the protests, claiming those behind them were independent right-wing militants.

On Thursday police and Border Police were out in force at several locations, but had their hands full trying to quell a number of demonstrations before they developed into major confrontations.

Settlement residents and supporters said they were furious over security forces’ use of plastic bullets and what they said were brutal tactics in order to break up protests against the demolition of several unauthorized homes and shacks at Gilad Farm.

Police arrested eight settlers, and some 15 protesters were injured in the tussles on Monday. As well, police in Jerusalem hauled in over 20 protesters for setting tires alight and blocking traffic at the entrance to the city later that day.

Early Thursday morning, some 15 protesters briefly succeeded in burning tires at the entrance to Jerusalem and along the main highway to block traffic between Jerusalem and the coastal region, according to Army Radio.

Protesters also managed to briefly block a rail line between Ben-Gurion International Airport and the nearby city of Modi’in, according to The Jerusalem Post newspaper, before police and Israel Railways officials stopped them.

Some settler elements also carried out what they termed “price tag operations” — acts of vandalism against Palestinians over the government’s actions against settlers.

Palestinians from a village near Ramallah told local media that settlers burned a vehicle in their village overnight.

“We heard an unusual noise outside. We went out and saw six or seven settlers standing near the car of one of our neighbors and setting it on fire,” a resident said.

However, right-wing Knesset parliament member Michael Ben Ari said Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch was responsible for any violence on the part of settlers.

“Whoever backs officers who open fire at settlers should take into account that he is causing rage and despair,” Ben Ari said.

Left-wing advocacy groups Yesh Din and B’Tselem on Tuesday called on the army to do their utmost to protect Palestinians from the Israeli protesters.

“We are asking you urgently to allocate all necessary forces to protect life, limb and property of Palestinians during the ‘day of rage,'” Yesh Din’s Ido Tamari said, according to the Ha’aretz newspaper.

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