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25 arrested after clashes at huge ultra-Orthodox protest in Jerusalem

Objecting to plan for light rail route through their neighborhoods, demonstrators break into building site, set city vehicles and dumpsters on fire

  • Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men protest against the new construction work for the Jerusalem Light Rail, in Bar Ilan, Jerusalem, December 7, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men protest against the new construction work for the Jerusalem Light Rail, in Bar Ilan, Jerusalem, December 7, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
  • Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men scuffle with Israeli police as they protest against the new contractions work for the Jerusalem Light Rail, December 7, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men scuffle with Israeli police as they protest against the new contractions work for the Jerusalem Light Rail, December 7, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
  • Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men scuffle with Israeli police as they protest against the new contractions work for the Jerusalem Light Rail, December 7, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men scuffle with Israeli police as they protest against the new contractions work for the Jerusalem Light Rail, December 7, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
  • Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men scuffle with Israeli police as they protest against the new contractions work for the Jerusalem Light Rail, December 7, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men scuffle with Israeli police as they protest against the new contractions work for the Jerusalem Light Rail, December 7, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
  • Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men scuffle with Israeli police as they protest against the new contractions work for the Jerusalem Light Rail, December 7, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men scuffle with Israeli police as they protest against the new contractions work for the Jerusalem Light Rail, December 7, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
  • Ultra-Orthodox men scuffle with police as they protest against work for the Jerusalem Light Rail, December 7, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    Ultra-Orthodox men scuffle with police as they protest against work for the Jerusalem Light Rail, December 7, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Several thousand ultra-Orthodox Jews protested in Jerusalem on Monday, with hundreds clashing with police during a demonstration over the planned route of the city’s light rail through their insular neighborhoods. At least 25 people were arrested.

The demonstrators started by blocking a main junction in the city, before some of them knocked over fences surrounding the light rail construction site and setting city work vehicles and dumpsters on fire.

Police said they had detained 25 people, including some that were armed with knives, sticks and pepper spray.

Police used water cannons and horse-mounted officers to try and disperse the demonstrators.

In a statement, organizers said that they would not agree to the train going through their neighborhoods.

“Haredi Jews will not agree in any way with the destruction of their neighborhoods, and ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem residents will not rest until this terrible edict has been overturned,” the statement said.

Jerusalem’s only current operating light rail line was inaugurated in 2011 and runs along Jaffa Street in the heart of the city.

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men scuffle with Israeli police as they protest against the new contractions work for the Jerusalem Light Rail, December 7, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Four additional lines are planned, but their routes have drawn protests from residents of several neighborhoods.

In 2016 residents of the upscale German Colony protested the planned light rail line, saying that it will ruin the area’s uniqueness and lead to its commercialization.

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