The turnout for Jerusalem’s Gay Pride Parade on Thursday was more than three times the expected number, with at least 14,000 people marching.

Some estimates said that up to 22,000 people attended the 16th annual march.

Officials had expected some 4,000 participants, according to The Times of Israel. Heavy security surrounded the parade, which in 2015 was the scene of a stabbing attack by a Charedi man that killed a 16-year-old girl, Shira Banki.

She was murdered and five other marchers were stabbed, in a gruesome attack that Orthodox Jew Yishai Schlissel is now serving a life sentence for.

One thousand police officers and soldiers were deployed to secure the route,

Britain’s Ambassador to Israel, who is himself gay, took to twitter to say say he is “proud to be with fantastic young people from Open House as we get ready to march in Jerusalem Pride”.

The Times of Israel reportedUniformed and plainclothes police were assigned to secure the route, the Israel Police said in a statement

Participants were only permitted to enter the parade from the designated start of the route and leave from the designated exit.

Police detained 22 people, one of whom was found to be carrying a knife, they said on Twitter.

Before the march took place, a 33-year-old man from central Israel who threatened the march was detained, following posts on social media. 

Israel Police said the unidentified man made threats on Thursday on his Facebook page before the start of the parade. He was questioned and released by an Israeli court that ruled he cannot enter Jerusalem until Friday, Israel’s Channel 10 reported.


People participate in the annual Gay Pride parade in central Jerusalem, under heavy security on August 3, 2017. Photo by: JINIPIX

Posted by The Jewish News on Friday, 4 August 2017