3 injured, 24 arrested in J'lem Day Flag March clashes

Thousands take part in procession from e. J'lem through Old City to Western Wall; Jews and Arabs, left-, right-wing protesters in small altercations despite heavy police presence.

June 1, 2011 20:00
2 minute read.
Israeli's march with flags (illustrative)

Israel Flag March 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Small clashes between Jews and Arabs, as well as between left- and right-wing activists broke out along the route of the Jerusalem Day Flag March on Wednesday. The procession in honor of Jerusalem Day, honoring the 44th anniversary of the capital's reunification, began in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, winding through the Old City and ending at the Western Wall where a rally was scheduled to take place.

Three people were slightly injured and 24 people were arrested as tens of thousands of people took part in the march, amidst increased patrols of police, Border Police and volunteers who were deployed throughout the capital until the conclusion of events on Wednesday. “Police will be patrolling in the small alleys inside the Old City in order to reduce friction between the sides and will act decisively against anyone who tries to cause provocations,” Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said earlier this week.

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The initial clashes broke out in the area next to Jewish homes in Sheikh Jarrah. Some 50 left- and right-wing activists, including National Union MK Michael Ben Ari, were involved in the altercation. Two left-wing activist were removed from the area and taken for interrogation by police. Police said the left wing activists did not have permission to demonstrate.

In a separate incident, a marcher entered a mosque in Sheikh Jarrah with an Israeli flag and was arrested by police forces. The marcher was taken into custody for interrogation.

The area near Nablus Gate in the capital saw a rock-throwing battle between Jewish marchers and Arabs in the area. Security forces separated the two sides. One marcher and one Arab were lightly injured in the incident. MDA paramedics evacuated the injured parties for medical treatment.

An additional five marchers were arrested in the Nablus Gate area for allegedly attempting to assault Arabs while calling out nationalistic slogans. A woman was also arrested for allegedly yelling anti-Semitic epithets at marchers passing by.

Another marcher received a light head injury from a stone thrown at him near Rockefeller Junction, where additional clashes were reported. Two Arab stone-throwers were arrested for involvement in the incident and a tourist was detained for attacking marchers. The injured marcher was evacuated to the hospital. 

The clashes were not, however contained to the route of the Jerusalem Day March. Border police arrested seven people for throwing stones at police forces in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Wednesday, as well. The suspects were taken into custody for interrogation.

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