Militant Jewish Sect Battle Police Over Gay Pride Arrests 31, 2007

Jerusalem -- More than a month after a gay pride march in Jerusalem members of the haredi, an extreme Orthodox sect that rioted for a week prior to the parade are still battling with police.

Testifying before a Knesset committee Tuesday a senior police officer said that sect members almost nightly are setting fires in garbage bins in the city's Orthodox area and throwing stones at police officers.

They are protesting the detention of five sect members who attempted to disrupt the parade.

"Every night they protest the detention of five haredim who were arrested in demonstrations against last month's Gay Pride march," Assistant Commander Bruno Stein, told the Knesset's Internal Affairs and Environment Committee.

One of those still detained is a 32 year old man who was found carrying a homemade bomb. He was arrested moments before the pride march was to begin. (story)

Police said he planned to detonate it near the parade route to scare people away.

Some 7000 police - many brought in from other cities - were stationed along the parade route, far outnumbering the the marchers estimated at about 1000.

At one point police routed about 500 haredim armed with eggs and bags of excrement. At another point on the parade route, only a few blocks long, protestors tried to pour cooking oil on the road so marchers would slip and fall.

Protests by the haredi were staged nightly in the days leading up to the parade.

Nearly 200 haredi were arrested during the rioting and 22 police officers were reportedly injured.

The 2006 parade was cancelled because of threats of violence. A pride concert and celebration was held at Hebrew University where anyone entering the grounds was checked by police. There were no incidents.

But the march preceding year was marred by violence. More than a than a dozen protestors were arrested and three people were stabbed by a haredi member.

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