nakba egypt - Reuters - May 16 2011
Egyptians wave Palestinian flags during a 'Nakba' demonstration in front of the Israeli embassy in Cairo, May 15, 2011. Photo by Reuters
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More than 350 people were injured in a protest held outside Israel's embassy in Cairo to mark the displacement of Palestinians during when the state was created in 1948, the Egyptian state news agency said on Monday.

Several hundred protesters gathered in front of the embassy in the Egyptian capital late on Sunday on the anniversary of what Arabs refer to as the "Nakba", or catastrophe.

Police fired tear gas to force back demonstrators who broke through a barricade in front of the embassy, witnesses said. The army later detained 186 people, the MENA news agency reported.

"The injuries varied from suffocation caused by tear gas and bruises to minor injuries caused by shoving," MENA quoted a senior health ministry official, Abdel Hamid Abaza, as saying.

It said 353 people were injured outside the embassy, of which 45 were transferred to hospitals.

Egypt's interim military rulers have come under popular pressure to adopt a more pro-Palestinian stance since a popular uprising ousted President Hosni Mubarak in February.

Many Egyptians regarded Mubarak, a U.S. ally, as too soft on Israel and want their new government to do more to help the Palestinians.

The protests in Cairo came a day after over a dozen people were killed as Palestinian refugees and their supporters stormed the fences on Israel's border with Lebanon and Syria, some managing to cross into Israel. The IDF and the Lebanese army opened fire to disperse the protesters.

Israel fired two tank shells and several rounds from machine guns as dozens of Palestinian protesters approached the heavily fortified border in the Gaza Strip over the course of the day, wounding at least 45 people, a Palestinian health official said.

Across the West Bank, thousands of Palestinians took to the streets, waving flags and holding old keys to symbolize their dreams of reclaiming property they lost when Israel was created on May 15, 1948.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said of the Palestinians who died, "Their blood will not go to waste… their blood was spilled for the freedom of our Palestinian people and for its rights."

Abbas said the participation of a large number of people in the protests was proof that "right is stronger than time, and the will of people is stronger than the power of the oppressive forces and the occupiers."

In reaction to violent incidents that took place on Israel's borders on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel was determined to defend itself and its sovereignty.

Netanyahu said that the Nakba Day protests were not about the 1967 borders, but rather about "undermining the very existence of Israel."