J'lem: Police stop donkey convoy en route to gay parade

Extreme right-wing demonstrators protest "bestial" nature of homosexuality; over 7,000 people expected to take part in annual event.

By MELANIE LIDMAN
July 28, 2011 16:47
1 minute read.
Almost 3,000 people attended Thursday's parade

Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

 
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As if it weren't enough that three separate protests converged on Jerusalem Thursday afternoon - the doctor's march, the tent protest, and the Gay pride parade - police stopped a procession of four donkeys and a few dozen extreme right-wing demonstrators at the entrance to the city. The demonstrators were attempting to get to the route of the annual Pride and Tolerance parade with the donkeys, to protest the "bestial" nature of homosexuality.

More than 7,000 people are expected to take part in the annual Gay Pride Parade, which also commemorates the shooting attack at the gay and lesbian youth center Bar-Noar in Tel Aviv in 2009.

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Also on Thursday, organizers in Jerusalem's tent protest announced that the tent activists would also join the pride parade to show their support with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

Thursday’s event will start at Independence Park, with speakers and performances, and march to the Knesset for a rally with music and activists in the Wohl Rose Garden.

The march will be led by MKs Sheli Yachamovich (Labor) and Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz), the second openly-gay Knesset Member. Speakers include MK Zehava Gal-On, and Rachel El Gabsi Bohadana, whose partner, Fabiola Bohadana, was killed in the Carmel fire in December. She is now fighting to have the state recognize her relationship so that their 18-month-old daughter can access the benefits given to the victims of the fire.

"The community's struggle is not about sexual orientation," Yachamovich said prior to the march. "It's a struggle for political legitimacy."

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Other speakers will talk about the gay community and the struggle for affordable housing, religious acceptance and other social issues.

Meanwhile, some 1,000 ultra-Orthodox are expected to attend a legal counter-protest in Kikar Shabbat in the Mea Sharim neighborhood of the capital, similar to last year, said Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben Ruby. There are no legal counter-protests planned for the parade route.

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