Saturday, June 30, 2007
"Palestinian figures and factions urged Saturday the Lebanese authorities to open an investigation in the incident of the killing of 3 Palestinians during a protest in northern Lebanon.
On Friday, Lebanese soldiers fired on Palestinian protesters, killing three people and injuring about 40. The Palestinians were trying to break through a checkpoint to get back to their homes in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon. The camp has been the scene of weeks of clashes between the army and militants.
Witnesses said soldiers fired in the air above the heads of at least 100 demonstrators. When the crowd did not disperse, the troops fired automatic rifles at the protesters.
The army issued a statement saying its troops had to respond after the protesters blocked the main road with burning tires and attacked soldiers with sticks and sharp objects. Weeks of clashes between the army and Fatah al-Islam militants at the camp have also caused tensions between Palestinians and Lebanese.
Human Rights Watch issued a statement, deploring the fact that the army did not have the necessary non-lethal means to disperse the crowd. It also called for an independent investigation into the incident. Some 20,000 Palestinian refugees had fled the Nahr al-Bared camp since the fighting began.
Most of them have been sheltered since then in the overcrowded Baddawi camp, about 5km (three miles) away from Nahr al-Bared.
Although the stand-off between the army and the militants is continuing, the refugees have been demanding to be allowed to return home.
Lebanon has 12 refugee camps housing more than 350,000 Palestinians."