Thousands attend Jerusalem Pride, despite fears of repeat attack
Last year’s parade was stopped after a violent knife attack was carried out.
Members of Jerusalem’s LGBT community are returning to the city’s streets today for an annual pride parade – one year after a deadly stabbing attack.
This year’s parade is being dedicated to the memory of Shira Banki, the 16-year-old girl who was murdered by anti-gay religious extremist Yishai Schlissel during last year’s march.
In an open letter earlier this month, Banki’s parents urged the whole Jerusalem community to come forward and march in solidarity at this year’s Pride.
A survivor of the attack – which saw six others wounded – said that although he is scared there may be another, the city’s LGBT community will “not give into terror.”
“I’m scared to death but the message I want this march to relay is to not give in to terror,” Yarden Noy told Army Radio.
Although he initially he had not planned to attend this year’s event, he said that “in recent days I received a lot of encouragement and I decided that there is not a choice, I have to go.”
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Organiser Tom Canning says due to religious hostility in the city, Pride day is the only time of year LGBT people can openly feel comfortable there.
Thousands of people are expected to march through central Jerusalem, with an extra 2,000 police on hand to secure the marchers in the wake of last year’s attack.
The Times of Israel reports that regular police, border police gendarmes and plainclothes officers will be on hand to keep order at the city’s 15th annual pride parade.
However, one person who won’t be attending is the Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat.
He yesterday confirmed he still has no plans to attend the event, despite the call from the Banki family.
“Tolerance is not just letting people march; it’s also looking for the way to get what you want without offending others opinions, or others feelings,” he said.