Record 30,000 at Jerusalem Pride Parade march amid tight security
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Record 30,000 at Jerusalem Pride Parade march amid tight security

More than 2,500 officers ensure safety of demonstrators in the capital to ensure the event went ahead safely, three years after the stabbing of Shira Banki

  • Participants take part in the annual Jerusalem Gay Pride parade on August 2, 2018.   This year's parade, the 17th annual Jerusalem march, is being held under the banner of "Pride and Tolerance". Photo by: JINIPIX
    Participants take part in the annual Jerusalem Gay Pride parade on August 2, 2018. This year's parade, the 17th annual Jerusalem march, is being held under the banner of "Pride and Tolerance". Photo by: JINIPIX
  • Participants take part in the annual Jerusalem Gay Pride parade on August 2, 2018.   This year's parade, the 17th annual Jerusalem march, is being held under the banner of "Pride and Tolerance". Photo by: JINIPIX
    Participants take part in the annual Jerusalem Gay Pride parade on August 2, 2018. This year's parade, the 17th annual Jerusalem march, is being held under the banner of "Pride and Tolerance". Photo by: JINIPIX
  • Participants take part in the annual Jerusalem Gay Pride parade on August 2, 2018.   This year's parade, the 17th annual Jerusalem march, is being held under the banner of "Pride and Tolerance". Photo by: JINIPIX
    Participants take part in the annual Jerusalem Gay Pride parade on August 2, 2018. This year's parade, the 17th annual Jerusalem march, is being held under the banner of "Pride and Tolerance". Photo by: JINIPIX
  • Participants take part in the annual Jerusalem Gay Pride parade on August 2, 2018.   This year's parade, the 17th annual Jerusalem march, is being held under the banner of "Pride and Tolerance". Photo by: JINIPIX
    Participants take part in the annual Jerusalem Gay Pride parade on August 2, 2018. This year's parade, the 17th annual Jerusalem march, is being held under the banner of "Pride and Tolerance". Photo by: JINIPIX
  • Participants take part in the annual Jerusalem Gay Pride parade on August 2, 2018.   This year's parade, the 17th annual Jerusalem march, is being held under the banner of "Pride and Tolerance". Photo by: JINIPIX
    Participants take part in the annual Jerusalem Gay Pride parade on August 2, 2018. This year's parade, the 17th annual Jerusalem march, is being held under the banner of "Pride and Tolerance". Photo by: JINIPIX
  • Participants take part in the annual Jerusalem Gay Pride parade on August 2, 2018.   This year's parade, the 17th annual Jerusalem march, is being held under the banner of "Pride and Tolerance". Photo by: JINIPIX
    Participants take part in the annual Jerusalem Gay Pride parade on August 2, 2018. This year's parade, the 17th annual Jerusalem march, is being held under the banner of "Pride and Tolerance". Photo by: JINIPIX
  • Participants take part in the annual Jerusalem Gay Pride parade on August 2, 2018.   This year's parade, the 17th annual Jerusalem march, is being held under the banner of "Pride and Tolerance". Photo by: JINIPIX
    Participants take part in the annual Jerusalem Gay Pride parade on August 2, 2018. This year's parade, the 17th annual Jerusalem march, is being held under the banner of "Pride and Tolerance". Photo by: JINIPIX
  • Participants take part in the annual Jerusalem Gay Pride parade on August 2, 2018.   This year's parade, the 17th annual Jerusalem march, is being held under the banner of "Pride and Tolerance". Photo by: JINIPIX
    Participants take part in the annual Jerusalem Gay Pride parade on August 2, 2018. This year's parade, the 17th annual Jerusalem march, is being held under the banner of "Pride and Tolerance". Photo by: JINIPIX
  • Participants take part in the annual Jerusalem Gay Pride parade on August 2, 2018.   This year's parade, the 17th annual Jerusalem march, is being held under the banner of "Pride and Tolerance". Photo by: JINIPIX
    Participants take part in the annual Jerusalem Gay Pride parade on August 2, 2018. This year's parade, the 17th annual Jerusalem march, is being held under the banner of "Pride and Tolerance". Photo by: JINIPIX
  • Participants take part in the annual Jerusalem Gay Pride parade on August 2, 2018.   This year's parade, the 17th annual Jerusalem march, is being held under the banner of "Pride and Tolerance". Photo by: JINIPIX
    Participants take part in the annual Jerusalem Gay Pride parade on August 2, 2018. This year's parade, the 17th annual Jerusalem march, is being held under the banner of "Pride and Tolerance". Photo by: JINIPIX

A record crowd estimated at 30,000 or more marched Thursday in support of the LGBTQ community at the Pride Parade in Jerusalem.

Some 2,500 uniformed and plainclothes police officers were mobilized to secure the event through the streets of Israel’s capital.

The march comes a week after more than 60,000 demonstrators in Tel Aviv protested the Knesset’s passage of a new surrogacy law that excludes gay couples as well as single men. That demonstration capped off a day of strikes and protests in support of gay surrogacy and the LGBTQ community.

The Pride Parade marchers called for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign over the surrogacy law and also carried signs against the nation-state law passed last month.

Police said the crowd for the 17th annual parade could be as high as 35,000 after organisers initially estimated it would be over 20,000 participants. At least 14,000 attended the event last year, up from a few thousand in previous years.

Participants were questioned and searched before being allowed to enter the parade wearing a special bracelet at specified points along the 1.25-mile route from Liberty Bell Park to Independence Park. Several major roads were closed in Jerusalem from about two hours before the march began.

In 2015, a Charedi man stabbed to death a marcher, Shira Banki, 16, who was attending the parade in support of her LGBTQ  friends. The marchers on Thursday placed flowers on a memorial to Banki set up at the corner where she was murdered.

Yishai Schlissel being led away by police in handcuffs, following the murder of the 16-year old Shira Banki

The march, organised by the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, was held under the banner of “Community Heritage: Honouring the Seniors of the Community,” in order to “celebrate the senior individuals and pioneers who have persistently fought for equality, freedom, and human rights of the LGBTQ people in Jerusalem and throughout the country,” the Jerusalem Open House said in a statement. The march also honoured Banki’s memory.

At least four counter-demonstrators — members of the extremist Lehava organisation — were arrested during the parade.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews, demonstrating against the annual Gay Pride Parade, are sprayed with water cannons by Israeli security forces in Jerusalem on August 2, 2018.
Photo by: JINIPIX
Ultra-Orthodox Jews, demonstrating against the annual Gay Pride Parade, are sprayed with water cannons by Israeli security forces in Jerusalem on August 2, 2018. Photo by: JINIPIX
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