Protestors held signs saying: 'Barkat don't give in', 'Nir has no balls – he is afraid of the haredim', and 'Don't give in to haredi violence'. The ultra-Orthodox community had objected to opening the Safra parking lot on the Sabbath.
Dan Biron, who had run against Barkat in the mayoral elections as the alternative secular candidate, was also present at the demonstration. "Jerusalem is a secular city," he told Ynet.
"The mayor is looking for power rather than the things for which he was chosen by the secular community. He fell into the trap set so easily for him by the town hall elders."
MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) told protestors that Barkat "was chosen thanks to the secular vote in Jerusalem, and if he folds on the parking lot issue we can only imagine where he will give in next".
Conflict broke out in Jerusalem last week over the municipality's announcement that it would keep the Safra parking lot open on Saturdays in order to ease the city's weekend parking troubles. The ultra-Orthodox community broke out in violent riots at the lot, which resulted in the wounding of six police officers, causing the mayor to reconsider.