At least 18 Palestinians have died in Gaza after Israeli forces opened fire Friday on a protest near the Gaza Strip’s eastern border with Israel. As many as 1,700 Palestinians were wounded. The deaths and injuries came as 30,000 Gaza residents gathered near the wall, as part of a planned 6-week-long nonviolent protest against the blockade of Gaza and to demand the right of return for Palestinian refugees. The protests began on Friday, March 30, known as “Land Day,” marking the anniversary of the 1976 killing of six Palestinians protesting the Israeli confiscation of Arab land. Video posted online shows unarmed Palestinians being shot in the back while taking part in Friday’s protest. Another 49 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces on Saturday. Israel’s actions have been condemned around the world, but Israel is rejecting calls to investigate the killings. At the United Nations, the U.S. blocked a move by the U.N. Security Council to open an investigation.