Jerusalem merchants to protest Monday over light rail construction

Hundreds of Jerusalem merchants are planning to hold a protest Monday at city hall against the light rail infrastructure work on the city's central Jaffa Road which has adversely affected their businesses. The early-evening demonstration, which will begin at Zion Square at 5 p.m., will then move to city hall to coincide with an evening city council meeting. "This work is a disaster not only for city merchants but for city residents and tourists as one," said Shimon Darwish, a member of the city center's Merchants' Committee. Anguished city merchants are demanding that the municipality immediately stop the construction work, which has made sections of the central Jerusalem artery nearly impassable, and are also planning to ask a Jerusalem court to issue a stop-work order, he said. The city has said that the long-term benefits the repeatedly-delayed light rail system will afford the public when it is completed in two years time outweigh the short-term inconveniences.