The alternative parade was not coordinated with the police and as the gay pride activists marched into Jerusalem’s Bell Park, a scuffle broke out between the marcher and extreme-right activists. Police were alerted to the scene and separated the sides.
One of the participants, Oshra, who came from Tel Aviv to participate, told Ynet: “In the end those who are not open-minded prevent others from marching. Our basic freedom of expression was violated here because a few people made threats.”
Lihi, one of the organizers of the march, explained that its aim was to prove what the parade aimed to show from the start: “The agreements reached damage everything the march is trying to accomplish. Instead of marching in the street, they are taking us back into the closet, and we aren’t willing to accept them. The police and the state are obligated to protect our right to protest. We feel that the agreement doesn’t reflect us or our position, and we will fight for the freedom of expression.”
Ben-Gvir: Over our dead bodies
Rumor of the alternative march reached the ears of the extreme right, and dozens came to Bell Park, including well-known right-wing activists Baruch Marzel, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Noam Federman. “The movement plans to come here and try to have a march. We won’t let this happen. Either the police will do the job, or we will,” they said.
Other right wing activists arrived with placards carrying the slogan “No to abomination.” A small riot broke out at the scene.
“You’ll march over our dead bodies! Get out of here, perverts and sickos,” Federman shouted, then warned those near him: “Be careful not to get too close so you don’t catch AIDS.”
Police arrested a number of people. Since the early morning, police began making arrests, detaining a youth, 14, in possession of spikes.
Meanwhile, some 300 students demonstrated against the event at a Jerusalem junction. No incidents out of the ordinary were reported.
The event at the Givat Ram stadium was scheduled to start at 11:00 a.m. and run until 3:00 p.m., under tight security of 3,000 police officers. In the morning, police closed off a number of streets throughout the city and in the Old City.
Those attending the event were asked to park their vehicles in the government campus parking lots. Jerusalem police called on the public to use public transportation to reduce traffic jams.
Police also raised alerts to emergency levels out of concern for violent responses to the IDF strike in Beit Hanoun which killed many civilians. A full closure was imposed on the West Bank and Gaza due to intelligence indicating a number of terror plots against Israel.
The declaration of a state of emergency alert is reserved for extreme cases. All police will be deployed, backed up by Border Guard and the IDF, and the police senior command will supervise events at various locations. The highest level of alert was in Jerusalem, along the Green Line and in the Jerusalem perimeter area.