Last Updated: Tue Nov 02, 2010 12:11 pm (KSA) 09:11 am (GMT)

Holy City of Jerusalem marches on with Gay Pride

The annual event has caused violent controversy in the past (File)
The annual event has caused violent controversy in the past (File)

Israel's Supreme Court on Monday rejected a petition to ban this year's Jerusalem Gay Pride parade, an annual event that has been the focus of violent controversy in the Holy City in the past.

The petition, submitted by a group of hardline Jewish activists, called the parade scheduled for Thursday a "provocation."

Jerusalem municipality had also objected to the event, with city spokesman Gidi Schmerling warning that it "harms social relations."

But the court said in its ruling that the organizers of the event declared that they did not intend the parade to be provocative.

In 2005 an ultra-orthodox Jew stabbed three participants and was subsequently sentenced to 12 years in prison.

The following year the venue was switched to a sports stadium following violent protests by ultra-orthodox Jews and rightwing opponents who consider the event "a profanity" of the Holy City.

Last year about 2,500 gays and activists marched down King David Street despite protests by thousands of people.

Jerusalem Open House, the gay rights group organizing the event, said the parade would put Jerusalem and Israel "to the true test of democracy and civil rights."

"Though we expect the struggle to be tough, we will not let the threats of violence silence us or challenge Israeli democracy," the group said in a statement.

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