The day soon turned to bloodshed as Israeli soldiers used live ammunition and tear gas to stop them breaking through the border fence, killing 15 people and injuring hundreds, the Palestinian health ministry in Gaza said.
The Hamas militant group, which controls the Gaza Strip, and other Palestinian factions had called for a peaceful “March of Return” for Land Day, which marks the israel government’s expropriation of Arab-owned land in 1976.
About 30,000 Palestinian demonstrators gathered at several points along the border fence with Israel, according to Israeli army estimates.
While many Palestinians gathered peacefully, picnicking and flying Palestinian flags, some approached the fence to threw stones at the soldiers they see as their jailers. The Israeli military accused others of hurling Molotov cocktails, burning tires and trying to “infiltrate” into Israeli territory and released video of such incidents.
israel had warned that it would use live ammunition, dropping leaflets cautioning that anyone who came within 300 meters of the fence would be in danger. But some Gazans said they did not care if they died.
“I want to be shot,” said 22-year-old Yahya Abu Assar. “I don’t want this…