A protester waves a Palestinian flag towards the Israeli border fence during a protest marking Land Day at the border between Israeli and Gaza Strip on March 30, 2014
A protester waves a Palestinian flag towards the Israeli border fence during a protest marking Land Day at the border between Israeli and Gaza Strip on March 30, 2014 © Mohammed Abed - AFP
A protester waves a Palestinian flag towards the Israeli border fence during a protest marking Land Day at the border between Israeli and Gaza Strip on March 30, 2014
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AFP
Last updated: March 30, 2014

Arab Israelis and Palestinians rally to mark Land Day

Palestinians and Arab Israelis commemorated on Sunday Land Day with rallies remembering six of their number who were shot dead during a 1976 demonstration against land seizure.

In the northern Israeli town of Arraba, thousands of people turned out for the main demonstration, many waving Palestinian flags, an AFP correspondent said.

A smaller gathering also took place in Sawawil, a Bedouin village in the southern Negev desert which is not recognised by Israel, with police saying hundreds participated.

The annual Land Day demonstrations are held to remember six Arab Israeli protesters who were shot dead by Israeli police and troops during mass demonstrations in 1976 against plans to confiscate Arab land in Galilee.

In annexed east Jerusalem, some 70 demonstrators gathered outside the walls of the Old City by Damascus Gate, throwing stones and chanting slogans, a police spokeswoman said, adding that the rally was quickly broken up and one person arrested.

Spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP that Land Day demonstrations were "over or nearly over" by the evening and that nothing out of the ordinary took place.

There were also several gatherings in the Gaza Strip, with scores of people attending a demonstration near the northern town of Jabaliya organised by the ruling Hamas movement.

Among the crowd were youngsters wearing green baseball caps and makeshift tunics fashioned out of the Palestinian flag.

They changed slogans and held up banners reading: "We will return to our land, no matter how long it takes."

A demonstration near the southern city of Khan Yunis drew similar numbers, among them dozens of children holding balloons bearing the Palestinian flag or scrawled with the word "Gaza".

Scattered demonstrations and sit-ins also took place in the West Bank, including in the southern city of Hebron where foreign peace activists also attended.

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