Thousands Attend Jerusalem Pride 26, 2008

Jerusalem - More than three-thousand people attended Jerusalem's gay pride parade on Thursday but unlike previous marches police reported only minor homophobic incidents.

Nearly 2,000 police officers were on duty along the parade route.

At one point a small group of haredi, the ultra-Orthodox sect that disrupted pervious pride celebrations, were blocked by police from coming close to the parade route. One protestor was arrested.

Pride marchers were mostly subdued - purposeful attempt to avoid confrontation. There were none of the disco boys, leather men and drag queens that mark parades in other world capitals.

On Monday Israel's Supreme Court refused to grant injunctions barring the parade that had been sought by a rightwing group and by the city of Jerusalem. (story)

The National Jewish Front in its brief called the parade a "a provocation".

The brief filed by the city said it feared civil unrest.

Last year, moments before the gay pride march was to begin in Jerusalem police arrested a man carrying a homemade bomb. Police said the 32 year old said he planned to detonate it near the parade route to scare people away. (story)

The arrest was one of nearly 200 as members of the haredi, an ultra-Orthodox sect, rioted for several days leading up to the parade. Garbage cans were set on fire and stones thrown at police. Twenty-two officers were reportedly injured.

Some 7000 police - many brought in from other cities - were stationed along the gay pride 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.

The 2006 pride march was cancelled following a week of rioting in Jerusalem by the haredi.

Thousands of sect members took to the streets for a week, setting fires and injuring more than a dozen people.

Instead of holding a march Open House held a pride concert and celebration at Hebrew University where anyone entering the grounds was checked by police. (story) There were no incidents.

In 2005 the parade was marred by violence. More than a than a dozen protestors were arrested and three people were stabbed.

Almost 1,000 protestors lined the parade route. Bottles of urine and bags containing feces were hurled at marchers.

Shortly after the parade began Shai Schlissel, a haredi member, rushed into the marchers on Ben Yehuda Street stabbing a man and a woman.

Others in the parade attempted to subdue him. The third victim was a marcher who went to the aid of the other two victims. (story) Schlissel is in prison for the attack.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.