Participants in the Nakba Day rally in Ramallah city center, (WAFA Images / Baha Nasr)
RAMALLAH, Wednesday, May 15, 2019 (WAFA) – Thousands of Palestinians participated today in marking the 71st anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, Arabic for catastrophe, which coincides on May 15, the day in 1948 when Palestinians lost their homeland, Palestine, to current day Israel and became stateless and refugees dispersed around the world.
The main West Bank rally was held in Ramallah. Participants gathered at the grave of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat from where they marched toward the city center hoisting Palestinian flags as well as black flags as a sign of mourning for their Nakba.
Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, as well as members of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Fatah Central Committee, political factions and civic leaders, took part in the march.
Participants carried keys signifying their determination to return to their ancestral homes they were forced out from in 1948 and stressing their determination to continue in the struggle until they achieve their right of return.
At 12 noon, Palestinians stood in silence as sirens were sounded for 71 seconds symbolizing the 71 years of the Palestinian catastrophe.
Similar rallies were also held in other West Bank cities.
?Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh taking part in the Nakba rally in Ramallah, (WAFA Images / Shorouq Zayed)
In the besieged Gaza Strip, several people suffered suffocation when Israeli troops stationed along the Israeli border with Gaza fired a barrage of teargas canisters at the crowds that gathered at the border to mark the Nakba anniversary and to demand their return to their usurped homes and lands in current day Israel.
The soldiers also sprayed the Palestinian who came close to the border fence with skunk water to push them away.
Gazans have been participating for over a year in the Great March of Return protests on the Gaza border with Israel, started on March 30 of last year demanding their right for return and is still continuing. Israeli soldiers have killed over 200 Palestinians in these protests so far and injured thousands others.