About 100 people, including members of gay groups and social organizations, participated Tuesday in a protest march in Haifa in the wake of Saturday night's shooting at a Tel Aviv gay center.
The demonstrators protested what they characterized as police inaction in the face of violence against homosexuals.
The marchers passed through two sites where gays were attacked in the past year. In one case, stones were hurled at a group of young homosexuals. One of the victims, 19-year-old Asaf, told Ynet that a vehicle stopped by the group "and the man who came out of it asked if we're homosexuals. We said we are and then he threw stones at us."
Asaf added that police officials refused to file an assault complaint and were only willing to record the incident as a case of "threats." The attacker had not been detained thus far. No suspects have been arrested in another assault case in the city targeting the gay community.
However, Haifa Police Commander Ahuva Tomer denied the charges.
Police in the northern city "do not make distinctions between sectors, and certainly do not discriminate against homosexuals and lesbians," she said.
Some of the marchers later attended a Haifa City Council meeting. At the beginning of the session, Mayor Yona Yahav addressed the Tel Aviv killing, calling it a "tragic and wild incident." Gay community representatives took the opportunity to urge Yahav to protect them, earmark more municipal funds to their cause, and hold next year's gay pride parade on the city's main street, rather than on a side street as was the case last year.
Meanwhile, police in Tel Aviv held a reenactment of the killing spree at the gay center. Mayor Ron Huldai was also on hand and characterized the incident as a "terrible disaster that must not take place anywhere."
Avi Cohen contributed to the story