The 12th annual Jerusalem Gay Pride parade took place Thursday afternoon, with thousands of participants marching through the city streets, waving rainbow flags and vibrantly chanting slogans.
This year’s parade, attended by a noticeably less flamboyant crowd than its Tel Aviv counterpart, strove to rally support for legislation to benefit the gay community, organizers said. The parade coincided with the fourth anniversary of the lethal shooting attack at the Bar Noar, a Tel Aviv gay youth club.
Police assessed that over 5,000 people participated in the march. The marchers set out from Independence Park in the city center and concluded at the Rose Park, across from the Knesset, for a series of speeches and musical performances.
Sections of Jerusalem’s Agron and Ramban streets, along with other thoroughfares, were closed to traffic.
Although the parade passed largely without incident, police arrested three citizens who attempted to assault the marchers. On Ramban Street, they detained a young ultra-Orthodox man who threw a stink bomb. Shortly afterward, police arrested two ultra-Orthodox women — dressed as a donkey and a monkey — who carried signs bearing offensive messages and who verbally assaulted participants in the parade.
A spokesperson for the Open House, Jerusalem’s gay community center, told Channel 10 that this year’s parade raised hope that the government would effect positive change for LGBT rights.
“The 19th Knesset, which seems to be the most LGBT-friendly Knesset ever, is a real opportunity to promote change on the legislative level, which still discriminates against members of the gay community,” the spokesperson said.
On Wednesday, Shai Deutsch, the chairman of the LGBT organization, told Israel Radio not to underestimate the importance of the Pride parade in Jerusalem.
“This is the most important parade in Israel for us, and it sends out a most important statement,” Deutsch said. “It’s a political struggle for full, equal rights and full acceptance.”
Opposition politicians who addressed the event were cheered, but Health Minister Yael German (Yesh Atid) endured some booing.
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