Jerusalem Gay Pride draws thousands under high security

Jerusalem Gay Pride draws thousands under high security(Source AFP)

Thousands took part in Jerusalem’s Gay Pride parade Thursday, waving rainbow flags and calling for tolerance in the Holy City under tight security following a 2015 knife attack by a Jewish extremist that killed a teenager. As crowds gathered for the march, police said they had arrested a man in the area who was acting suspiciously and a search turned up a knife. A total of 52 people were detained on suspicion of wanting to disrupt the event, police said without providing details. Police deployed some 2,500 undercover and uniformed officers for the parade that started at a park in the Holy City and continued through nearby streets. Crowds were festive, with live music and dancing before the march set off. “Despite the difficulties, it’s important to participate, especially in Jerusalem,” said Israel Lumbroso, a 28-year-old resident of the city who said he came out of the closet around a year and a half ago. This year marks the 18th Gay Pride march in Jerusalem, but due to the city’s conservative religious character, controversy and even violence have erupted at times. The city hung rainbow flags along the march’s route despite Jerusalem chief rabbi Aryeh Stern requesting it not be done to “avoid hurting the feelings of part of the population”.

City hall has also ordered the removal of posters denouncing the march and reading “Father and Mother = Family. The courage to be normal.”

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