Two thousand people marched in Jerusalem Pride’s parade yesterday despite anti-gay protests.
The march was described by onlookers as “subdued”, as it lacked the usual colour, noise and vibrant costumes associated with Pride.
Around 1,500 Israeli police officers guarded marchers and three women were arrested when they were found to be carrying eggs to throw at the parade near Jerusalem’s Independence Park.
The march passed peacefully, unlike the event five years ago, when an ultra-Orthodox Jew stabbed and injured three marchers.
However, participants were still confronted by placards bearing messages such as ‘Gays play in Hell, not Jerusalem’ and ‘Sick perverts, get out of Jerusalem’.
The march began with a minute of silence for the two people killed in a shooting on an LGBT meeting in Tel Aviv last year.
Mayor Nir Barkat refused to take part in events, so Pride organisers placed an empty chair in the meeting with a sign reading ‘reserved for Mayor Nir Barkat’ as a protest.
Marcher Shmuel Satat told Euronews: “The gay community in Jerusalem is very respectful of religious people.
“It includes the religious people and part of its message is to expose its existence to Orthodox people. The Orthodox population does have gay people in it and it is very important they will be out of the closet, for them.”
Parade organiser Yonaton Gher told Associated Press: “This is first of all a march of mourning and at the end we will try to put the mourning behind us and look forward to the coming year, and declare tonight the beginning of gay rights year.”