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Jerusalem’s Gay Pride Parade Draws 22,000

Live Update: Thousands attend the 16th annual Gay Pride in Jerusalem under the theme “Religion and LGBTQ.” A Wider Bridge brings you the news and images as they come

“We’re here and no LEHAVA will make us go away” – Miki Zaidel, bisexual activist (Facebook)

Some 22,000 participants attended the Jerusalem March for Pride and Tolerance Thursday evening, highlighting the LGBT community’s ties to religion. Hundreds of police and security guards safeguarded the marchers, two years after teenager Shira Banki was murdered at the Pride parade in the capital. This year, the Israel Police arrested 22 people at the march, one of whom was carrying a knife. Haaretz reports

The turnout for Jerusalem’s Gay Pride Parade on Thursday was more than three times the expected number. JTA reports

The parade began with a congregation at Liberty Bell Park at 6 PM (11 AM U.S. Eastern Time), from where the participants marched along Plumer, Keren Hayesod, King George, Hillel and Menashe Ben Yisrael streets, all in the center of town. The parade ended with a large event at Independence Park. The parade’s host was supposed to be Israeli singer and gay rights activist Amir Fay Guttman, who drowned last week.

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid spoke at the gay parade in Jerusalem. “A mother and mother is a family. A father and father is a family,” he said.

Radical rightist activists have asked to hold a protest at the same time as the parade in Bloomfield Park, opposite Liberty Bell Park.

“Huge parade in Jerusalem. This is what victory looks like” – Avihoo Mizan, LGBTQ activist (Facebook)

Police arrested a 33-year-old resident of central Israel following a message he posted on Facebook that raised suspicions of a threat to participants in today’s gay pride parade in Jerusalem.

Holding the LGBT pride parade in the streets of Jerusalem  is contradicting its characteristics as a holy city, said the capital’s Ashkenazi chief rabbi Aryeh Stern earlier this morning.

Family members of Amir Fryszer Guttman, z”l