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Haredi protestor in Jerusalem Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
Haredi protestor in Jerusalem Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
 
 

Haredim, seculars clash in Jerusalem

Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox rioters block roads in protest of parking lot's opening on Shabbat

Efrat Weiss
Latest Update: 08.29.09, 20:04 / Israel News

A violent weekend: Five police officers sustained light wounds as hundreds of haredim rioted in the capital to protest the opening of the Karta parking lot on Shabbat.

 

The ultra-Orthodox protestors blocked roads in the area and clashed with secular demonstrators presented at the site to support the disputed parking lot's opening.

 

Policeman faces haredim (Photo: Dudi Vaaknin)

 

At least 14 haredim were arrested, while others clashed with police forces preventing them from making their way to the parking lot.

 

The latest protests are reportedly more violent than usual and have drawn numerous teenagers and children. Several vehicles traveling on the road leading to the parking lot were attacked by haredim who pounded the cars, while others hurled stones, eggs and plastic bottles at police, secular protestors, and journalists.

 

Protestor detained in Jerusalem (Photo: Dudi Vaaknin)

 

The secular protestors included several groups of Jerusalem youngsters who arrived at the site with Israeli flags. The demonstrators slammed Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch's efforts to compromise with anti-Zionist Orthodox sect leaders.

 

"It makes no sense that he is sitting down with the haredim…he apparently forgot that he was against them before the elections. Yet suddenly he is here to listen to a group of anti-Zionists who oppose the state's existence," activist Nir Pereg said.

 

'Police attitude too lenient'  

Pereg also accused police of adopting a lenient attitude towards haredi rioters in the capital.

 

"In no other protest in Jerusalem have we seen so few detainees," he said. "How could it be that Mayor Barkat is attacked at the Mea Shearim neighborhood and not even one arrest follows the incident?"

 

The latest clashes in Jerusalem got underway earlier Saturday, after several hundred ultra-Orthodox attempted to block the entrance to disputed parking lot around noon.

 

At least two haredim were arrested earlier and one police officer sustained light hand wounds in the clashes. The officer was evacuated to Shaare Zedek Medical Center. During the earlier clashes, some 200 haredim arrived at a nearby intersection in a bid to march towards the disputed parking lot, but were blocked by security forces.

 

Ronen Medzini contributed to the report

 

First Published: 08.29.09, 18:41

 

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