Traditional Jewish 'Flag Dance' procession commemorating Jerusalem's reunification becomes scene of violent clashes between marchers and Arab residents of capital's eastern neighborhoods. Several rioters detained by police
Latest Update: 06.01.11
Violent clashes broke out on Wednesday during the traditional "Flag Dance" parade in east Jerusalem.
Police detained at least 15 people, both Jewish and Arab, some of whom are suspected of hurling stones. Three people were lightly wounded.
Marchers and local business owners hurled stones and fruit at each other near Damascus Gate. Large police forces were deployed and arrested two rioters.
A marcher and an Arab resident were injured near Damascus Gate from stones they pelted at one another. Another marcher was lightly injured from a stone that was pelted at him near Sheikh Jarrah. All three received medical treatment at a nearby hospital.
Hamed, a shopkeeper, accused the marchers of hurling stones at Arab shops near the Damascus Gate. "We closed the shops because they're throwing stones at us. These people don't want to celebrate, they want to fight," he told Ynet.
Several protestors were arrested near the site after chanting nationalistic slogans and trying to harm Arabs. Two protestors were also arrested in Silwan on suspicion they hurled stones at security forces.
Among the marchers were extreme-right activists carrying stickers reading "Kahane was right." Two Jewish rioters were arrested in Nevi'im street after hurling objects at Arab passersby. There were no injuries.
The clashes broke out earlier between marchers and left-wing activists near the Tomb of Simon the Just in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Police arrested two protestors. The activists, who waved signs reading "Jewish-Arab solidarity against apartheid," claimed that police used excessive force.
Clashes continued later when several Sheikh Jarrah residents waved Palestinian flags over rooftops. Some of the marchers shouted "death to Arabs" in response, which prompted the hurling of stones. No injuries were reported. Police detained several rioters.
Officers also dispersed several Kahane followers in the Tomb of Simon the Just who assaulted several leftists. A right-wing activist who entered a local mosque with an Israeli flag was also arrested.
One of the organizers of the 'Flag Dance', Nadav Novik, told Ynet, "This year we boost the Jewish community in the Shimon HaTzadik neighbourhood. We have come to say that Jerusalem is united under the Israeli flag."
"I came here to celebrate Jerusalem, it's important to me to mark the city's reunification," 17-year-old Itamar Cohen said.
Police forces are deployed along the procession route to prevent clashes between the marchers and residents of the Arab neighborhoods.
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