Riots of participants during last year's events prompt police to place restrictions on Flag Dance Procession held by Religious Zionism camp in honor of reunification of capital.
'They spat, overturned Arab stalls, and sprayed graffiti,' police official says
Published: 04.27.10, 21:32 / Israel News
Ever since the Six Day War, various celebrations are undertaken in honor of Jerusalem Day, marking the reunification of the city under Israeli control. Among the most well-known events is the traditional Flag Dance Procession held by yeshiva students in the Religious Zionism camp. However, this year, the procession will be confined the western part of the city by police order.
Jerusalem Police notified the event's organizers Tuesday that it will not allow the procession to be held on its customary path – from Damascus Gate to the Western Wall via the alleyways of the Old City.
The police explained their decision, citing unruly behavior on the part of some of last year's participants, who, according to the police, "spat on passersby, overturned Arab merchants' stalls, and sprayed graffiti."
The decision to limit the procession has provoked the outrage of many yeshiva students planning to take part in the festivities. "We didn't hurt anyone. The actions of a few cannot prevent all of us from marking Jerusalem Day at its most important symbol," explained one yeshiva student.
Am Ke'Lavie, the movement which organizes the event, expressed their dismay over the decision. They have scheduled a meeting Wednesday with senior police officials in a bid to reach a compromise on the matter.
Knesset Member Michael Ben-Ari (National Union), who is also planning to participate in the procession, blamed the situation on the government, which he claims is dividing Jerusalem.
"Even (former Prime Minister Ehud) Olmert allowed us to hold the event in the Old City. The Likud is the one lowering the flag to half mast on the city's holiday," said Ben-Ari.
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