Saturday, June 30, 2007
By Rania Masri, Electronic Lebanon, 29 June 2007
"Today, during the second day of a three-day peaceful protest in the Palestinian refugee camp of Baddawi in solidarity with Palestinian refugees from Nahr al-Bared, the Lebanese army opened fire on the protesters in Baddawi refugee camp, killing two people and injuring 25, seven critically.
A peaceful protest began within the Baddawi Palestinian refugee camp in north Lebanon. The protesters had signs reading "Nahr al-Bared is in our soul" and "Nahr al-Bared, we won't forget you." The protesters were calling for an end to the violence.....
As they proceeded towards the Lebanese army's checkpoint, the army issued verbal warnings, telling the protesters to stay away. At this point, women and children raced to the front to try to prevent the army from firing upon the crowd. The Lebanese army shot two warning shots into the air and then immediately responded with machine gun fire at the crowd of approximately 300 peaceful protesters. The army continued firing on people as they were attempting to retrieve the wounded.
Caoimhe Butterly, an activist and organizer, reported on what she had personally witnessed. "The army first opened fire with two to three minutes of sustained fire. When there was a lull in the shooting, we rushed in with our hands above our heads. At this stage, the army started firing on the road again. Thus, people retrieving the wounded were wounded."
In response to the Lebanese army's claim that a "significant number" of the protesters had clubs, Butterly said, "the protesters did not have clubs. Nobody had clubs. We saw the whole demonstration. They weren't carrying anything. We went from the beginning to the end of the demonstration. We saw it all, and no one was carrying clubs."
Furthermore, she continued, "the protest was never out of hand. They weren't throwing stones. At the time the army opened fire, women were sitting on the ground at the front, and a number of people even had their backs to the soldiers. At the time the army opened fire, people were getting quieter and had stopped shouting, as if shouting is enough to legitimize open fire."....."