Friday's planned Gay Pride March will be protected by some 9,000 police, an operation Jerusalem Police Chief Ilan Franco described Wednesday as one of the "most extensive [he] could remember."
Franco said permission was given for 5,000 gay rights activists to march through a nonresidential area away from the city center and to hold a closing rally in a university stadium there, while 20,000 religious protesters demonstrate against the parade near the Jerusalem central bus station.
Other anti-gay demonstrations are expected at main road junctions in Jerusalem and around the country, Franco said. The police deployment is codenamed "Operation Colors of the Rainbow," reflecting the gay movement's rainbow flag.
"There will be 8,500 to 9,000 police physically present in Jerusalem," Franco said. "That number is unprecedented in its size in any district of the Israeli police to this day."
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