Palestinian protesters and Border Police officers engaged in heavy clashes late Sunday near a Jewish enclave in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.

The clashes began with a fracas between some 150 protesters and the settlers' security guards, according to Palestinian sources, and spiraled into an exchange of stone throwing on the part of the demonstrators and tear gas being fired by the Israeli forces.

Some Palestinian witnesses said that the Israeli forces also used live fire to disperse protesters, who were throwing firebombs at a Jewish-inhabited apartment building.

Six Border Police officers were wounded when hit by stones, and Palestinian witnesses said dozens of women and children suffered from tear gas inhalation after the Israeli forces began firing into homes.

Protests in the neighborhood have been a regular event in recent months, but picked up speed last week after Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat approved the demolition of 22 illegally built Arab homes in the neighborhood to make room for a for a tourist park.

The plan stipulates that all homes west of the neighborhood's narrow main drag will be demolished, and all those east of it spared.