Journalists covering the Jerusalem Day flag march were attacked by right-wing participants of the march near the Damascus Gate on Thursday afternoon, with participants jeering at them and hitting them with various objects.
Participants could be seen on a livestream using flag poles to jab at the journalists and displaying their middle fingers at the journalists. Various items, including water bottles, were thrown back and forth between the journalists and the participants as well as police worked to separate the two groups. At least one journalist was arrested.
A group of children who gathered in front of the journalists chanted "Arabs are sons of b&%*$es" and jeered at the journalists. After being smacked by one of the flags, one of the journalists could be seen grabbing the flag and pushing it to the side while saying "beware of me."
The police stated that they arrested two of the participants who attacked the journalists. One of the suspects, a minor, was also carrying a knife in their bag.
The entrance to the Damascus Gate was temporarily blocked by police amid the violence, but was reopened shortly afterward.
Additionally during the march, CNN reporter Ben Wedeman was filmed being pushed by Israeli police in the Old City. Before being pushed, a police officer told Wedeman that he could not film at the police checkpoint where he was standing and needed to go either five steps forward or five steps back. After taking exactly five steps back, one of the officers told him "don't be clever with me" and told him to go away and began pushing him down the alleyway.
A few of the policeman at the scene could be heard saying "anarchists. They came to hit police officers." It is unclear if they were referring to the reporter and his cameraman or other individuals.
During CNN's coverage of the march, Wedeman mentioned the scuffle and stated about the march "this is a provocative event, there is no question about it" and referred to the participants as "ultra-nationalists."
Police call on public to avoid violence
Between 3,200 and 3,500 Israel Police officers and volunteers operated throughout the city to secure the Jerusalem Day revelries and direct traffic, with 2,500 allocated to the flag march alone.
Police had called on marchers and the rest of the public to obey police instructions and to avoid any manifestation of physical or verbal violence. “Disturbances and manifestations of violence of any kind will be dealt with decisively by the police forces,” stressed Chief Superintendent Yoram Segal from the Jerusalem District Police.