Troops teargas West Bank pupils

Palestinian schoolchildren have scuffled with Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint in Hebron in the West Bank and soldiers fired teargas to disperse them.

    About 300 children swamped the checkpoint

    The children, upset that Israeli soldiers searched their bags and made them lift their shirts before passing through the checkpoint on their way to school, refused to co-operate.


    The group of about 300 elementary school children swarmed around the checkpoint on Tuesday, shouting: "We want freedom to study." They kicked the plastic barrier separating them from Israeli soldiers, witnesses, including an AP reporter, said.

    They said troops raised their rifles but no shots were fired and no one was injured.


    Soldiers scuffled with a few female pupils who confronted them, but the group scattered when soldiers fired teargas into the crowd and arrested two of them, the witnesses said.

     

    Protest

    The rest of the pupils went home as part of a strike in protest against the security checks.

     

    The checkpoint, which has metal detectors and an X-ray scanner, is in an area where resistance activity has been high, the Israeli army said.

     

    Soldiers used teargas to disperse the crowd because the demonstrators were pushing and shoving the soldiers and refused to undergo a security check, the army said.


    But Muhammed Qawasmeh, the Palestinian Education Minister, said: "The problem is not with the students.

     

    "The problem is the army and the checkpoints. Pupils who are six and seven years old should not have to be subjected to body searches."


    He said that pupils regularly arrived late for classes and were made to stand outside in bad weather while waiting for about 800 children to clear the checkpoint every morning.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    Prince Philip has done the world an extraordinary service by exposing the racist hypocrisy of "Western civilisation".

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    There are a number of reasons why Beijing continues to back Maduro's government despite suffering financial losses.