Police: Jerusalem Day march to avoid east Jerusalem
The annual Dance of Flags in honor of Jerusalem Day, which will be celebrated on Sunday, will not pass through east Jerusalem or the Muslim Quarter, Jerusalem police announced on Wednesday. This was a reaction to violence last year between participants and residents of Sheikh Jarrah, said deputy police spokeswoman Shlomit Bajshi.
Last year, 24 people were arrested and three wounded as the two sides clashed during the parade, which features floats, bands, and more than 40,000 participants.
The parade commemorates the victory in the Six Day War and the reunification of Jerusalem.
Meir Indor, an activist with the Am K’Lavia (Nation Like a Lion) group that has organized the parade since 1978, said the parade organizers were more worried about dealing with the light rail rather than the actual route, and had no objections to the route change.
Last year, the parade was moved to start in east Jerusalem on Haim Bar Lev street because the parade, which normally takes place on Jaffa Road, would have interrupted the light rail. This year, the parade will take place from King George to Agron to the Old City.
Women will be asked to enter through Jaffa Gate and men will be asked to enter through Dung Gate. Btselem head Jessica Montell provoked condemnation when she compared the Jerusalem Day march to a neo-Nazi march in a twitter post.