Ultra-orthodox Jews have rioted in Jerusalem in protest over a planned gay Pride Parade. The city has been rocked by almost daily violence over the past week, with protesters blocking roads, setting fires and even attacking police.
It is thought that most of the rioters are members of the Haredi sect. The parade is set to take place this Friday.
The mayor of Jerusalem found himself in the line of fire on Tuesday night after members of the sect pelted him with stones as bodyguards tried to protect him. Mayor Uri Lupolianski was attending a blessing ceremony when protesters against the parade gathered outside. He was unable to leave the community hall until police arrived to assist him.
While Israel’s attorney general has refused to cave in to pressure to cancel the event, organisers have agreed to change the parade’s route to one that is more controllable by the authorities.
The orthodox group has nevertheless threatened to disrupt the event. The sect’s stance has been supported by the city’s conservative Muslims and Christian, but these have not engaged in the rioting.
Police have recommended that the parade be cancelled because of a strong possibility of violence, but will deploy thousands of officers to protect the participants.
Last year’s Jerusalem Pride Parade was marred by the stabbing of three people by Shai Schlissel, a member of the Haredi sect, who was imprisoned for the attack.
Six policemen have been hurt in recent riots, while Police report that around 60 rioters have been arrested.