Photo: AP
Stabbing victim from 2005 parade
Photo: AP
Photo: Haim Zach
Ultra Orthodox demonstrators last week in Jerusalem
Photo: Haim Zach
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Ultra Orthodox man reads announcment calling against pride parade
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Gays plan for disaster scenarios at J'lem parade

Plan for worst, hope for best: Israel's gay community braces itself for one of most disputed pride marches in recent years. Worst case scenarios include violent incidents resulting in death, political hijacking by groups from within community

Somber texts and pulling the plug on all music – these are just some of the steps detailed in the 'disaster scenarios' plans prepared by the 'Jerusalem Open House' (JOH), a GLBT organization participating in the pride parade taking place on November 11th in Jerusalem.


GoGay, a leading Israeli internet sites for GLBT issues, reported over the weekend that several such 'scenarios' had been thought-out and prepared for.


GoGay reported that JOH has held a series of consultations and made crucial decisions regarding conduct in the case of a violent incident which may include serious physical harm inflicted on participants or even the possibility of fatalities.


As part of the preparations for the upcoming pride parade and happening held immediately after, a course of action has been decided upon in the event of a violent incident resulting in the death of one or more participants.


Among other things, it was decided that the crowd would disperse via quick escape routes coordinated in advance with the police, as well as appropriate texts and music prepared in advance, escorts to the hospital and setting up an emergency psycho-trauma service.


At first glance the imagined scenarios may seem exaggerated but one must take into account the stabbing of three participants by an ultra Orthodox man in the 2005 parade, though the three sustained minor injuries, and the massive demonstrations held by members of the religious community over the past few weeks.


In the event of a fatality, or serious injury, the Open House will convene people over the course of the weekend, establish a memorial and see to the publication of an obituary and informing the public of the funeral arrangements.


The decision to break up the rally of press on will be determined at the scene, according to the conditions at the time. Music will be muted and the happening will become a memorial event, with speeches and suitable musical performances. In the event of non-fatal injuries performers will direct the crowd to possible visiting hours.


Concern over takeover from within community

The Jerusalem Open House has also prepared for the event of an outbreak of internal confrontations and a possible takeover by groups from within the GLBT community itself. The JOH has alerted security guards about problematic groups in advance and those will be escorted by guards and escorts to maintain the calm.


Among the JOH's concerns are the possibilities that groups may sit on the road and bring the parade to a standstill, confront police officers and even remove their clothing. Escorts have been instructed to speak with the group and try to straighten the matter out. In the event that the disturbance will continue, security forces will remove them from the scene.


The JOH will also examine the signs carried by participants. The signs will be limited in both size and content to prevent friction during the parade. In the event that participants will be arrested, the JOH will assist in their release.


In the event of internal violence, for instance in the event of confrontations between marchers carrying opposing political slogans and the like, guards will attempt to calm things down. Physical violence will be dealt with by the police, music will stopped and happening performers and speakers will address the incidents, in speeches pre-written according to the aforementioned scenarios.


The JOH doesn't rule out the possibility of groups from within the community hijacking the parade for their own causes, namely to promote political ideas.


There are also fears of 'light' violence along the parade route, among those participating in the parade and those opposing it, who are expected to make an appearance.


The decision in this is to proceed with the parade and speed things along, but mention them during the subsequent happening, as well as "create a feeling of accomplishment by having succeeding in doing this," says the Open House.


"Encouraging texts" will be read over the loudspeakers as well. In the event of a confrontation with the police the parade will continue, and the incident will be addressed at the happening.


פרסום ראשון: 10.29.06, 19:18
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