Forty-nine Palestinians were injured by Israeli gunfire on Saturday near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

In a statement, ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said Israeli forces opened fire, injuring 49 people in Rafah, Khan Yunis, and Gaza.

The injuries came as scores of Palestinians gathered near the border as part of Palestinian protests demanding the right of return to refugees. 

On Friday, at least 15 Gazans were martyred and hundreds injured when Israeli forces opened fire on protesters marking “Land Day”, an annual Palestinian commemoration of the deaths of six Arab Israeli citizens killed by Israeli forces in 1976, during demonstrations over government land confiscations in northern Israel. 

The rallies were the start of a six-week protest that culminates on May 15, the day the Palestinians call as “Nakba”, or “Catastrophe,” when Israel was founded.

The demonstrators are demanding that Palestinian refugees be allowed the right of return to towns and villages which their families fled from, or were driven out of, when the state of Israel was created in 1948.