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PHOTOS: Palestinian Santas protest the occupation in Bethlehem

Roughly 100 people march on a checkpoint in Bethlehem to protest the occupation and mark Christmas. Israeli forces respond by pepper-spraying and teargassing the demonstrators.

Text by Oren Ziv. Photos by Oren Ziv, Keren Manor and Shahaf Polakow

Demonstrators protest the occupation in Bethlehem, West Bank, December 23, 2016. (Activestills)

Demonstrators protest the occupation in Bethlehem, West Bank, December 23, 2016. (Activestills)

Around 100 members of the Palestinian Popular Committees marched towards one of Bethlehem’s main checkpoints on Friday to protest the occupation.

Demonstrators protest the occupation in Bethlehem, West Bank, December 23, 2016. (Activestills)

Demonstrators protest the occupation in Bethlehem, West Bank, December 23, 2016. (Activestills)

The demonstration was also held to mark Christmas, with some of the protesters dressed as Santa Claus.

A protester dressed as Santa Claus stands in front of Israeli security forces, Bethlehem, West Bank, December 23, 2016. (Activestills)

A protester dressed as Santa Claus stands in front of Israeli security forces, Bethlehem, West Bank, December 23, 2016. (Activestills)

Private security forces on the scene, who were not expecting the demonstration, pepper-sprayed the protesters.

Protesters and Israeli security forces stand by one of Bethlehem's main checkpoints, West Bank, December 23, 2016. (Activestills)

Protesters and Israeli security forces stand by one of Bethlehem’s main checkpoints, West Bank, December 23, 2016. (Activestills)

Border Police officers arrived a few minutes later and started pushing the demonstrators back using tear gas and shock grenades.

A protester dressed as Santa Claus runs from a cloud of tear gas shot by Israeli Border Police, Bethlehem, West Bank, December 23, 2016. (Activestills)

A protester dressed as Santa Claus runs from a cloud of tear gas shot by Israeli Border Police, Bethlehem, West Bank, December 23, 2016. (Activestills)

 

Israeli Border Police fire tear gas at demonstrators in Bethlehem, West Bank, December 23, 2016. (Activestills)

Israeli Border Police fire tear gas at demonstrators in Bethlehem, West Bank, December 23, 2016. (Activestills)

Around six people were injured, including five journalists.

An injured protester is tended to by other demonstrators, Bethlehem, West Bank, December 23, 2016. (Activestills)

An injured protester is tended to by other demonstrators, Bethlehem, West Bank, December 23, 2016. (Activestills)

 

An injured protester is led away by other demonstrators, Bethlehem, West Bank, December 23, 2016. (Activestills)

An injured protester is led away by other demonstrators, Bethlehem, West Bank, December 23, 2016. (Activestills)

 

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