Jerusalem police are facing criticism after attempting to block a WorldPride protest scheduled for tomorrow evening.

Organisers of the international gay event, Jerusalem Open House (JOH), had arranged to hold a quiet demonstration in Liberty Bell Park in replacement of a pride parade which was cancelled by the group due to the security situation in Israel.

But Jerusalem police claim the Protest Against Hatred event should not go ahead at all in fear of protests and threats to public order.

Hagai El-Ad, the executive-director JOH said: “There is no legal basis for the police decision as such an event, which is not a demonstration, does not require a license.”

The JOH promotes the event on its website as a chance to “pray together with our colleagues and supporters around the world for a near end to hostilities and suffering in the region.

“Even at these trying times, the struggle for equality, human rights, and a progressive LGBT community in Jerusalem is relevant and necessary. During the time that the Pride March was supposed to be held, the JOH, along with other human rights organisations, will hold a protest-rally against the incitement, oppression and violence towards the LGBT community. We will continue to defend the principles we have always promoted: peace, tolerance, and respect for diversity in all its forms.

“It is essential for us to express publicly our outrage against the hate campaign targeting our community in a peaceful manner. We ask from all of those who wish to join in this protest to stand quietly and respectfully in line with the JOH staff, in order to avoid altercations with the local authorities.”