Israeli snipers, tear gas and smoke from burning tires couldn’t stop Palestinian protesters from performing the dabke, a traditional Arab folk dance, at the Gaza border fence on Friday (video above). About half a dozen male activists, accompanied by a young woman, swung ropes in their hands as they staged a dabke circle at the Great March of Return protests which were launched on March 30 to peacefully demand the right for Palestinian people to return to their homes in what is now Israel.
Some of the dancers wore Keffiyeh scarves, inspired by the late Palestinian resistance leader Yasser Arafat, to protect themselves from tear gas shelling. The dabke, which was traditionally performed at joyous occasions like weddings and celebrations, has now become a symbol of Palestinian resistance.
The dance was just one of a series of creative protests during the Great March of Return, and marked three months of the protest campaign. The Great March also saw protesters using parkour to express defiance, reading books about anti-colonial history, dressing as characters from Avatar, hitting back tear gas canisters with tennis racquets, and confusing snipers by reflecting light off mirrors.
The Palestine Ministry of Health says that 131 Palestinians have been killed and more than 14,000 injured since the campaign started.