Officer hurt in haredi rally against opening of parking lot on Shabbat
Ultra-Orthodox try to break through police barricade, prevent entrance of cars to Karta parking lot near Old City; 15 haredim detained during disturbance; secular group greets lot's visitors with flowers, list of Jerusalem businesses open on Shabbat
Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox gathered on Saturday at the intersection of Shivtei Yisrael and Hanevi'im streets in Jerusalem to protest against the opening of the Karta parking lot on Shabbat.
The demonstrators, who threw eggs and spat on officers dispatched to the scene, attempted to break through a police barricade and make their way to the lot, which is located near the Old City's Jaffa Gate and offers 800 spaces.
One officer was lightly hurt after being kicked in the lower part of his body by one of the protestors. Fifteen protestors were detained. Despite police presence, Some 150 haredim made it to the parking lot area and tried to block its entrance.
Security forces block haredim (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
About 20 secular youngsters arrived at the parking lot earlier in the day to counter the ultra-Orthodox campaign. "We greeted people who entered the parking lot with flowers, maps of Jerusalem, and a pamphlet listing all of the businesses that are open here on Shabbat," Nir Pereg of the "Forum of Organizations for a Free Jerusalem" told Ynet.
"We are glad to see tourists coming to Jerusalem. As proud Jerusalemites we wanted to show them that there is another side to the city, not just wounded officers and arrests," he said.
In June, following the ultra-Orthodox riots sparked by the Jerusalem municipality's decision to keep the Safra parking lot open on Shabbat, and a court order to that effect, Mayor Nir Barkat announced that Safra will remain closed and the city's Karta lot will be opened in its stead.
Since then, the capital's haredi community has been staging protests every Saturday evening. Last week's demonstration on Bar-Ilan Street saw two haredim arrested for suspicion of throwing stones at passing vehicles. No injuries were reported.