Shabbat war in Jerusalem: Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox protestors hit the streets at the ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim neighborhood Saturday evening to protest against what they view as Shabbat desecration in the capital.
At least 23 Orthodox protestors and rioters were detained by police forces during the afternoon and evening. Meanwhile, at least four police officers sustained light wounds in the riots.
Arrest in Jerusalem (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Haredi demosntrators were hurling stones, cans, fruit, and glass bottles at police. Clashes have reportedly taken place between haredim and secular passersby, as well as police and journalists. A six-year-old boy was lightly wounded after an object thrown by rioters hit him in the head. The boy was treated by a Magen David Adom ambulance team.
At one point, police officers entered Mea Shearim and detained at least 15 ultra-Orthodox rioters. Another four haredim were arrested at the Karta parking lot in the capital.
Secular rally in capital (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Also Saturday, about one thousand people gathered at Jerusalem's Safra Square in order to express their support for a municipal decision to open a parking lot in the city on Shabbat.
The demonstrators, who carried Israeli flags, held up signs condemning "haredi bullying" and supporting a "free Jerusalem."
Earlier, undercover police officers detained two members of the ultra-Orthodox community for attacking drivers passing on Bar Ilan Street in the capital. The two suspects were taking part in a protest held by the Orthodox community against the opening of the Karta parking lot on Shabbat.
Later Saturday, two more haredim were arrested by police, also on Bar Ilan Street.
MK Ilan Ghilon (Meretz) told the secular demonstrators that the haredi protest was "all about politics," charging it was "an attempt to make people's lives unbearable in order to prompt secular emigration."
Ghilon told Ynet he was undecided on the actions of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.
"He is zigzagging and you can't blink here. There are times I am for him and times I am against him," he said. "It's important that he remember that in Jerusalem there is room for all: Seculars, ultra-Orthodox, homosexuals, Arabs, everyone."
Meirav Cohen, of the Wake Up Jerusalem Movement, said it warmed her heart to see so many people protesting in support of the lot opening.
"Today we want to convey the message that Jerusalem is a pluralistic place with room for all people. Today is proof that bullying and aggression is not the way to reach achievements in Jerusalem. We have a municipality that sees what the general good in the city is and doesn't succumb to pressure," she said.
Large police forces were separating the secular protest and ultra-Orthodox demonstrators. Police were preparing to deal with massive riots in case violence broke out.
Efrat Weiss contributed to this report