In anticipation of the “tens of thousands” of haredi (ultra-Orthodox) protesters expected to gather near the western entrance to the capital on Sunday afternoon, 3,500 officers and several helicopters will be deployed to ensure order at all times, national police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
“Police units will be in and around the area from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. to make sure the protest coordinates with the arrangements made by the haredi leadership and police,” said Rosenfeld. “We will have border officers, patrol units and helicopters to oversee the demonstration from start to finish.”Rosenfeld said that Route 1, beginning from Ben Shemen – and all local roads near the city’s entrance – will be closed beginning at 1:30 p.m. Drivers are asked to use Route 443 as an alternative until the protest concludes.
“The section of Route 1 closed, as well as other closed local roads, will gradually be reopened after the protest finishes,” he said. “We ask for the public’s patience and cooperation during that time.”
Asked why police granted permission to the haredim to hold a protest that would be so disruptive to the city, Rosenfeld said it is a right afforded to all citizens who gain lawful permission ahead of time.
“The protesters have the right to carry out this massive demonstration as long as they carry it out in coordination with the police, which they’re doing,” he said.
The entrance of the city was selected by authorities for the protest because it would allow for a “relatively quick dispersal” after it concluded, Rosenfeld said.
“Any other place in Jerusalem would have blocked off the whole city,” he said.