The arrests came amid a heavy police presence as the city’s pride parade returned after a year-long hiatus due to the virus. Organizers estimated the turnout for Friday’s event at 100,000, making it Israel’s largest event since the start of the pandemic, and potentially one of the largest in the world.
“About fifty suspects suspected of being involved in various offenses, including disturbing public order and attempting to harm police officers and participants, were arrested and questioned at the police station,” police said. in a press release.
Among those arrested was a man from Tel Aviv who police said planned to attack participants. The man was Award with a taser, nunchucks and other items. Six other people were also arrested on suspicion of plotting to attack protesters, including two who used drones.
Police later arrested a husband and wife from the predominantly religious town of Beit Shemesh who attempted to force their way into the parade route and attacked officers who prevented them from doing so.
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Two Palestinians without papers to be in Israel were arrested on Tel Aviv beach near the parade route while carrying knives.
Thousands of people take part in the annual Pride Parade in Tel Aviv on June 25, 2021 (Miriam Alster / Flash90)
The Pride in Israel parades have taken place under a heavy police presence, especially since 2015, when an ultra-Orthodox extremist stabbed 16-year-old Shira Banki to death during the parade in Jerusalem.
Some 2,000 officers were dispatched to secure the Tel Aviv pride parade on Friday, as well as 1,000 ushers stationed along the road.
More than a dozen streets in Tel Aviv were closed most of the time on Friday in order to allow the parade to run. Police said they used cameras, drones and a helicopter to provide air security.
Nearly a dozen coalition members joined the tens of thousands of participants, including Minister of Public Safety Omer Barlev, Minister of Health Nitzan Horowitz, Minister of Transport Merav Michaeli, Minister of Protection from the environment Tamar Zandberg, MEPs Meirav Ben-Ari, Yorai Lahav-Hertzano, Eitan Ginzburg, Michal Rozin, Mossi Raz and Yair Golan.
Since the first parade in Tel Aviv almost three decades ago, I have come to parade with my community every year.
Which path we have taken – to live in fear and in hiding, in the Knesset and in government.
I am proud to be your voice. Your Minister of Health. I am committed to you. I love you and I will continue to fight for you. For our good. Celebrate and stay healthy. Happy holidays! pic.twitter.com/cToMCQh1zr
– Nitzan Horowitz Nitzan Horowitz Nitzan Horowitz (@NitzanHorowitz) June 25, 2021
There have been no comments from lawmakers from the opposition, which is made up largely of right-wing religious parties. However, the government also sits the Islamist Ra’am party, which opposes the expansion of LGBT rights.
“Since the first parade in Tel Aviv almost thirty years ago, I have come to parade with my community every year. Which path we have taken – to live in fear and in hiding, in the Knesset and in government, ”tweeted Horowitz, who is openly gay.
“I am proud to be your voice. Your Minister of Health. I am committed to you. I love you and I will continue to fight for you. For our good. Celebrate and stay healthy. Good pride! “
“The LGBT community’s struggle for equality dates back many, many years. We have accomplished a lot and today everyone knows we are all equal, ”Michaeli tweeted. “With my friends and colleagues in the Labor Party, the Knesset and the government, we will continue to do everything until it becomes official. Total equality.
The Tel Aviv Municipality said Friday’s pride was “the largest such parade held in the world since the COVID-19 outbreak.” This year’s event is the 21st in the city’s history, after last year’s parade was canceled due to the pandemic.
Happy proud daughters and friends,
It’s the happiest holiday reminiscent of endless struggle, but we won’t let go until we win.
Until our equal rights are expressed not only in one party, but in all laws in Israel – in marriage, adoption, in a common home.
In all rights and rights that will be fully equal in our law.
Photo : Guy Yechieli pic.twitter.com/eavXVnJcZt
– Merav Michaeli Merav Michaeli (@MeravMichaeli) June 25, 2021
The festivities included six party trucks, dancers, DJs and a post-parade party at Charles Clore Park. There, more than a dozen pop stars performed in front of the crowd, including Star is Rising singers Eden Alene, Ella Lee and Shafita, as well as Eden Hasson and Ninet Tayeb.
Several marchers said they were sad to have missed the parade last year.
“It’s not just a celebration, it’s also a protest for our rights, for our existence, so it really feels good to be here again to walk with everyone,” said Noam Klar.
Nina Korolev said it was her first time attending a pride parade.
“It’s so delicious, it’s amazing,” she said. “I am very proud to be able to be here in a free country with free people together. All humans must have the same rights.
Hours before the parade began, Israel reimposed its indoor mask mandate amid a slight spike in new COVID cases. The Health Ministry’s announcement also recommended the wearing of masks at crowded outdoor events, specifically mentioning the pride parade and other pride activities.
Horowitz urged caution during events.
“I ask all of these celebrants at pride events: celebrate, enjoy, but listen to the directions, so we can keep everyone safe and maintain our normal routine,” Horowitz tweeted. “Shabbat Shalom, happy pride and above all – health. “
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said the city welcomed the return of the celebration.
“Pride events in Tel Aviv-Yafo are a long-standing tradition, centered on a message of equality, acceptance, and human and civil rights,” Huldai said.
“Tel Aviv-Yafo represents a warm home to all the communities residing here, and is proud to be a revolutionary city in its approach to the LGBTQ community and a source of international inspiration. This year, more than ever, we will celebrate together, walk together and fight together for equality. “
President Reuven Rivlin sent his blessings to the participants.
“Dear friends of the # LGBTQ + community. For the last time as President, I send you my best wishes for Pride Month, ”Rivlin tweeted. “Our hearts are open to you, even as we continue to fight for the fundamental right of everyone to be who they are. Bless you all! ”