At least 134 Palestinians have been wounded by Israeli gunfire as thousands of Palestinian women demonstrated along the heavily fortified fence with Israel in the besieged Gaza Strip.
Ashraf al-Qudra, spokesperson for Gaza’s healthy ministry, said in a statement on Tuesday that media representatives covering the event were among those who were injured at the scene, east of the enclave.
The protest was the first mass women’s demonstration to take place in the strip since popular protests calling for Palestinians’ right of return began on March 30 in the strip.
Palestinians in the strip have taken part in the protests, dubbed the Great March of Return, calling for their right of return to the homes from which they were expelled from in 1948 during a violent ethnic cleansing campaign that forcibly expelled more than 750,000 Palestinians from their towns and villages.
They have also been demonstrating against the Israeli-Egyptian land, sea and naval blockade that has been in place since 2006, when Hamas – the party governing the strip – came to power.
Women on Tuesday arrived in buses from across the port city, home to more than two million people, many accompanied by their children.
They moved in groups to within 50 metres of the fence, AFP reported.
“I came to finish the march that my daughter had started,” Rim Abu Irmana said, waving a picture of her 15-year-old daughter, Wasal, who was killed by live Israeli ammunition on May 14 – the same day more than 60 other Palestinians were also killed.
May 14, which commemorated the 70 years since the Nakba, coincided with the controversial US embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“These demonstrations are peaceful. We are only defending our land and our rights,” said Irmana, holding the hand of her young son.
Since the protests began on March 30, Israeli forces killed at least 138 Palestinians.