Risks of violence are high for anniversary protests in Gaza

Saturday marks the first anniversary of the start of the often violent weekly demonstrations on the Israel-Gaza border. Approximately 200 Palestinians and an Israeli soldier have been killed.

Thousands of Palestinians are expected to gather along the border on Saturday for protests that could severely test a fragile calm between the Jewish state and the Strip’s Islamist rulers Hamas.

They also come just 10 days before parliamentary elections in Israel.

While demonstrations have taken place at least weekly since March last year, Hamas has been building up the anniversary protests for several months.

The group’s leader Ismail Haniya has called for a million people to gather across five protest sites, and mosques in Gaza late Friday used loudspeakers to encourage a mass turnout.

The protests peaked in May, when Israeli forces shot dead at least 62 Palestinians in a single day in clashes over the transfer of the US embassy to Israel to the disputed city of Jerusalem.

FRANCE 24 has this report from the border.