JERUSALEM - Adam Russo, one of the three victims who had been stabbed during last Thursday's gay pride march, addressed a group of protestors who had gathered to condemn the attack.
“A man tried to kill me because I was born different from him, because I acted to bring about equality and supported my freedom in Jerusalem,” said Russo.
The protest, which was held on the exact spot of the attack, was delayed to give Russo, who had been released from hosptial a few days ago, a chance to participate.
Hagai Elad, head of the Jerusalem Open House group which organized the protest, said that Thursday’s attack was “not the opening shot or an escalation, but a direct continuation of a well organized campaign of incitement against the gay and bi-sexual community, which is only getting worse.”
Protestors held signs which read: “Basless hatred destroyed the city of Jerusalem,” and “love your neighbor as yourself.”
They did not, however, succeed in attracting the attention of passersby.
Nevertheless, organizers say the protest was powerful, as it not only attracted gay and lesbian supporters, but also brought in secular heterosexual residents of Jerusalem, and even some religious Jews who had arrived to take part.
“This attempted murder comes directly from enormous posters signed by rabbis, posters which cheapen the blood of an entire community.
And it comes from the behavior of Jerusalem’s mayor, Ori Loplianski, who has crudely trampled over the right to free speech, equality, and the laws of the state, out of racism and blind hatred,” added Elad.
The protest was also attended by MK Ran Cohen (Meretz-Yahad), who told demonstrators that he “came to identify with the march and the protest by the community."
"In my opinion, this is a powerful move for all who love Jerusalem and for all who want her to be an open and liberal city," said Cohen.
"If Jerusalem won’t be this way, she will no longer be a free city, and I want a free Jerusalem. Today is the best day to protest because it’s the day that Yishai Schlissel has been charged with the stabbing of three marchers last Thursday.”
City Council Member Sa’ar Natanel said: “We are not planning on giving up until those who attack give up.
The hatred that we are seeing has no place in Jerusalem. We are here as part of a wider struggle for citizen rights and freedom of expression.”
Rocks thrown in response
Police detained 30 ultra-religious men who circled King George Street in Jerusalem, adjacent to the protesters, and officers searching the men found one of the suspects to be wielding a knife.
The man said he had come to “rip up the signs,” and claimed that knife was for
”peeling fruit.” He was remanded in custody for further questioning.
During the demonstration, several dozen ultra-religous men also threw rocks at Eged buses that drove past the area, causing heavy damage to three vehicles.
The rocks were thrown as a response to the demonstration, and police scattered the stone throwers.
There were no reported injuries.