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'Democratic right' (archives) Photo: Noa Raz
'Democratic right' (archives) Photo: Noa Raz

Police ban gay parade to Knesset

Gay community's request to end Pride Parade at parliament denied. Open House chairman calls decision 'infuriating'; Israel Religious Action Center threatens legal action

Ronen Medzini
Published: 06.24.10, 15:39 / Israel News

Israel Police denied on Thursday a request by the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance to allow this year's Gay Pride Parade slated to conclude outside the Knesset building.


Authorities demanded that the procession be held along the same route as last year's march –from Independence Park to Liberty Bell Park.

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The parade will be held on July 29 and mark the year anniversary of the shooting attack on a gay youth center in Tel Aviv that took the lives of gay youth leader Nir Katz and teenager, Liz Trubeshi. The police still do not have a lead on the identity of the perpetrator.


"The decision is infuriating," Open House Chairman Mikie Goldstein told Ynet. "We are determined to rally for our rights - and this year we wanted to end the march at the Knesset.


"Marching to parliament is a right in every democratic country. We get the sense that it is easier for the police to tell us, 'March along last year's route.'"


Open House said in a statement that police had delayed the response to the community's request for more than a month and eventually decided that the gay community cannot march in public places."


The Israel Religious Action Center has requested Israel Police to reverse its decision and threatened to take legal action in case it refuses to do so.


Open House Director Yonatan Gar expressed his disappointment with the police's conduct. "On the anniversary of the murder at the gay youth center, the gay community asks to exercise its democratic right to march to the Knesset, the most fitting site to protest against the ongoing discrimination and the wild incitement that gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transsexuals suffer throughout Israel.


"The police's puzzling refusal to allow the event to be held is illegal, and even dangerous. It is best that the police invest its resources in finding the murderer instead of violating the gay community's freedom of expression," Gar said.


The police confirmed that the Open House's request was rejected out of "security and safety concerns." However, they claim that two alternative locations were offered: the Liberty Bell Park or the Rose Garden. "We are awaiting the response of the Open House in order to conclude the matter," the police reported.


Shmulik Grossman contributed to this report 


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