'We won't ask for your permission'
Photo: Ofer Amram

Hundreds march for freedom of religion in Jaffa

Protestors cry out against residents of newly-built luxury apartment complex who complained of noise emitted by church, mosques. 'We were here before you, if you don't like it, get out,' marchers say

Hundreds of Muslim and Christian residents of Jaffa took to the streets Friday in protest against a complaint filed by residents of a luxury apartment complex, who say the noise emitted by mosques and the nearby St. George's Cathedral is too loud.


Protestors held signs saying, "We were here before you, if you don't like it, get out", and "No one will move us from our holy land" as well as "We won't ask for your permission on when and how to pray".


Police permitted the protestors to march on Yeffet Street, near the Old City of Jaffa. They called for the "expulsion of Andromeda Hill", the name of the recently completed luxury complex overlooking Jaffa port.


The protestors also carried Palestinian flags and called out slogans in favor of the Palestinian people. Police special forces were on guard, and no violent incidents were reported. Some 20 protestors received permission to march inside the Andromeda complex, but reporters were not allowed in.


Protestors carried Palestinian flags (Photo: Yoav Zitun)


Residents of the complex have complained mainly of the noise issued by two nearby mosques, Siksik and Jabaliya. St. George's Cathedral received letters threatening lawsuits by the residents.


Attorney Gabi Kadis, who helped organize the protest, told Ynet, "If they want a war, it's a war they'll get. Our church has been here since 1883, much before they came. This is an attempt to disrupt Christian religious tradition, which has existed here for dozens of years. We would never interrupt the activities of synagogues.


"Unfortunately the complaints are coming from people who have only lived here a few years and not veteran Jews who know that churches and mosques are part of the city's permanent landscape."


Jaffa council member Ahmad Mashrawi (Meretz) explained that footage filmed at the protest is to be screened around the world "and could lead to consequences for the synagogues in Cairo and other Muslim cities".


"We must put an end to this in order not to disrupt the gentle coexistence that has been built up here over the years," he said.


Kamel Agbaria, chairman of the Ajami neighborhood council and a tour guide in Jaffa, recounted an unfortunate incident in which water had been poured on a group he was guiding.


"Rich Jewish residents who came and made their home in Jaffa called to me, 'Get out of here'," he said. "We won't let these phenomena go on. I hope there will be an end to this before it is too late."



פרסום ראשון: 12.10.10, 18:33
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