Israeli military interrupts peaceful demonstration with "skunk truck"

Residents and activists in Nabi Saleh held their weekly non-violent demonstration as usual on 27 December 2013, to protest against the military occupation and its associated policies of land grab, displacement and restrictions on freedom of expression, association, and assembly. The activists give each demonstration a theme, and this one celebrated Christmas. After the demonstration, having fired teargas and rubber coated metal bullets at protestors, the Israeli forces brought in the “skunk truck” and began to spray protestors and houses. Skunk, according to B’Tselem, is a foul-smelling liquid developed by the Israel Police for dispersing demonstrations. B’Tselem doesn't know its chemical makeup or the safety instructions regulating its use. According to the IDF spokesperson, the Skunk contains organic material and has been approved for use by the Israeli Ministry of the Environment and the Chief IDF Medical Officer. The Skunk is sprayed from specially designed trucks to a maximum range of 30-40 meters. Israel Police procedure stipulates that the Skunk must be used with care and that innocent bystanders must not be harmed. Exposure to the Skunk in the quantities ordinarily used at demonstrations does not pose health hazards, but can cause nausea and vomiting. Security forces often spray the liquid at homes and yards, making it very difficult to get rid of the persistent smell. These actions raise suspicions that the Skunk is being used punitively against villages where regular weekly demonstrations are held.

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