As hundreds of Palestinians pressed toward the Beit Hanoun crossing Friday, braving Israeli gunfire that resulted in the death of 20-year-old Mahmoud Zaqout and the injuries of at least 30 others, thousands more rallied behind them, marking Land Day as part of the Global March to Jerusalem.
Land Day is an annual commemoration of the Israeli state’s killing of six Palestinian citizens, who had joined a general strike protesting its expropriation of Palestinian land in the Galilee for “security and settlement purposes,” on March 30, 1976.
This year it was marked by both a Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Global Day of Action, held in Gaza and dozens of other locations, and the Global March to Jerusalem. The March drew tens of thousands of Palestinians and residents of neighboring countries to demand an end to displacement and racially discriminatory laws, access to Jerusalem and the protection of sacred sites, and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.
Before the Gaza event, dozens of its staff joined the midday jumu’ah prayer following an adhan broadcast from the empty stage.
As buses began to arrive, both the stage and the area around it filled quickly, with the crowd eventually stretching further than the eye could see.
International participants included supporters from Ireland, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Indonesia.
Palestinians represented every age, background, and walk of life.