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Hundreds of haredim riot against gay parade in J'lem
Protest against upcoming gay pride parade in capital becomes violent as hundreds of ultra-Orthodox gather on main traffic route in town, block road, torch trash cans and throw stones. Four policemen hurt by stone throwing

Several hundreds haredi rioters blocked one of Jerusalem's main traffic routes, road number one connecting the western and eastern parts of the city, Tuesday evening, in protest of the plan to hold the gay pride parade in the capital next Friday.

 

Four policemen were lightly injured from rocks thrown by Haredi rioters and received medical treatment at the scene. 

 

The Jerusalem police have detained nine haredim during the protests.

 

The demonstration started out as a march from the Zupnik building, which houses the haredi public's court, that proceeded towards the Shabbat Square along the Meah Shearim Street. The protesters shouted out "gewalt!" throughout the rally.

 

The march was led by the elders of the haredi community, who arrived wearing sack cloths, which are a sign of mourning, and carrying signs saying: "The ultra-Orthodox Judaism is begging – save Jerusalem from shame and catastrophe," and "Jerusalem will not be like Sodom and Gomorrah."

 

When they reached road number 1, on Shivtei Yisrael Street, the rioters began overturning garbage cans, torching some of them, and blocking the road with garbage containers. They then sat down on the road in order to disrupt traffic, and some even began hurling stones.

 

Residents call police 'Nazis'  

Large police forces, including policemen mounted on horses and motorbikes, were dispatched to the scene and forced the protesters away from the road. Many residents of the haredi neighborhood gathered on the surrounding balconies to watch the events, and some called the officers "Nazis."


Trash cans overturned (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

 

Simultaneously, the haredi neighborhoods across the city have been flooded Tuesday with posters calling for a prayer rally and a public reading of the book of Psalms on day of the pride parade.

 

At the same time, the police decided to raise their alert level across the country and declare an emergency situation next Friday, due to the gay parade.

 

Police Chief Moshe Karadi held a meeting at his office Tuesday to discuss preparations ahead of the parade. The commander of the Jerusalem district, Major General Ilan Franco, also attended the meeting.

 

Due to fears that the parade will provoke violent incidents, Karadi instructed that the activity in districts throughout the country be boosted and that unites will be reinforced.

 

Rotten eggs on roofs, dummy-bombings

Although the parade will take place in the capital, the police are concerned that rioters will attempt to block roads in other places as well, and therefore large scale deployment is planned.

 

Some 9,000 policemen will be stationed across Jerusalem next Friday, to secure the parade, handle traffic and counter attempts to sabotage the event.

 

According to information received by the Jerusalem police, the objectors to the parade intend to place crates of rotten eggs on rooftops, flood the sewage system, carry out dummy-bombings, demonstrate and block traffic routes throughout the country.

 

The police are also worried that extreme haredi elements will target public venues and traffic routes, and harm public institutions.

 


First published: 31.10.06, 21:27
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