Nearly 3,000 agents shielded the route after a week marked by verbal attacks from the ultra-Orthodox, who recall Sodom in their messages
In less than a week, Jerusalem changed the white and blue of the Israeli flag for the rainbow of LGBTQ pride. On Sunday, the ultra-nationalist sectors staged the controversial March of the flags in the Old City and this Thursday, four days later, thousands of gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and queer people marched through the western part of the holy city to demand equality and tolerance. 2,800 security agents shielded the route. The event was twenty years old and was held after a week marked by death threats to the organizers.
The same ultranationalists who took over the Muslim Quarter of the Old City on Sunday organized a counter-demonstration in which slogans such as “Jerusalem is not Sodom” or “no to LGBTQ terror” could be heard. In the 2015 edition, an ultra-Orthodox Jew stabbed to death the young Shira Banki in the middle of the route and since then every Pride march has been carried out under enormous security measures. This same week, the city of Netivot suspended its march because organizers and activists received bullets in their mailboxes.
The one in Jerusalem saw an unusual presence of public officials, something unusual in the era of conservative leader Benjamin Netanyahu. For the first time since this day is celebrated in the holy city, the speaker of parliament, Mickey Levy, took part and spoke before the participants. So did ministers such as Transport Minister Merav Michaeli, who assured that “all people deserve to be loved regardless of their gender or who they love.”
four dead palestinians
The march was a party of colors, music, slogans and dances. For the Spanish student Ivan Toyos it was his first experience on this day in Jerusalem and he saw “a very vindictive atmosphere, very familiar.” All accesses to the route were fenced and there were only very specific entry points where the police registered each attendee and marked them with a blue bracelet.
Jerusalem celebrates its Pride parade. /
While the Jewish part of Jerusalem celebrated Pride Day, in the occupied territories they experienced a new day of funerals. Israeli forces have killed four Palestinians in the last 48 hours, the last two being Odeh Saqa, 17, who was shot in the chest in Al-Midya and Ayman Mheisen, 29, also shot dead, but in Bethlehem. Both participated in protests and, according to the spokesman for the Palestinian presidency, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, were “executed on the order of Prime Minister Naftali Bennet”.