A couple of days before Christmas, a group of around 100 protesters dressed in Santa Claus outfits took to the streets of Bethlehem, Palestine, as they marched toward Jerusalem.
The march, called “Terrorism and occupation are two sides of the same coin,” demands religious freedom for Christian tourists to celebrate the holiday in the birthplace of Jesus Christ.
Unfortunately, the protest turned into a nasty scene within no time when Israeli forces tried to disperse the crowd using tear gas and rubber bullets. While many of the protesters fled from the scene, some adamant people didn’t budge as they faced the troops.
Many participants suffered from tear gas inhalation, and a few others received injuries during the face off. As they demanded free movement between the two cities, participants carried signs that read “Santa Claus stands with the Palestinian people” and “Jesus came with a message of peace, his city suffers oppression.”
A Palestinian protester dressed as Santa Claus and wearing a tear gas mask returns a tear gas canister during clashes with Israeli border pic.twitter.com/QVnUP6ALup— Rafat Darawsheh (@rafatdarawsheh) December 23, 2016
Apparently, the Palestinians even attacked the Israel Defense Forces lines with rocks in a display of anger and retaliation.
An Israeli border police spokesperson stated that around 15 men threw rocks at Israeli soldiers, two who suffered minor injuries.
Interestingly, this is not the first time something like this has taken place during the holiday celebrations — protesting Santas clashed with the IDF in the West Bank last year too.
Check out the above video to learn more about the protests and what really happened.
Banner/thumbnail image: Reuters