Jerusalem gay pride parade gets conditional police approval

Police may impose restrictions as next month's event approaches.

Jerusalem police have given conditional approval for a gay pride parade in the city next month, but said that the event is subject to restrictions based on the situation on the ground, parade organizers said this weekend. The annual parade, which is being organized by Jerusalem's Gay and Lesbian Center, is slated to take place in the capital on June 21. The prerogative for issuing permits for public events rests with police, who could ban the event - or restrict it - due to public safety concerns. "It is within the district commander's jurisdiction to determine, according to intelligence... he may have at hand, any restrictions he sees fit [for] the event, its location, and arrangements," Jerusalem District Chief Cmdr. Ilan Franco wrote in response to the organizers' request for a permit. Last year's parade through the streets of Jerusalem was cancelled following weeks of violent haredi protests, and the event was moved to an enclosed stadium in the city. The annual local parade, which draws several thousand participants every year, has been the source of repeated debate, with many religious city councilors and a not insignificant number of largely-traditional city residents considering such an event inappropriate for a "holy" city. Supporters of the parade counter that freedom of speech allows them to hold the event in Jerusalem, as a symbol of tolerance and pluralism, even if theirs is the view of the minority of the city's residents.