Man armed with bomb detained at Jerusalem Gay Pride

Anthony Cuesta | June 25, 2007

TEL AVIV — An Orthodox Jewish man armed with a homemade bomb was detained by Israeli police Thursday just before Jerusalem�s gay pride demonstration.

'Police stopped a 32-year-old religious Jew who was carrying a home-made explosive device,' police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, reports Reuters.

According to Reuters, the event ended without major incident, but in all, 23 people were arrested in connection with protests against the march.

Police officers far outnumbered the celebration�s marchers – 7,000 to 2,000 – and were deployed inside and around Jerusalem to protect marchers from threats of violence made by conservative Jews.

Marchers carried multicolored balloons and posters of Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama.

"I am demanding my civil rights, including the right get married and have children," said marcher Guy Frishman, 27, to the Associated Press. "I want to have rights like every other person."

Organizers said they canceled a gathering in a park at the end of the truncated route because they were unable to get a permit from the fire department.

Jerusalem's Gay Pride parade has in the past been a relatively modest affair, with none of the flamboyant costumes or nudity common at similar events elsewhere in the world, or even in the nearby Israeli city of Tel Aviv.

Noa Satat, chairwoman of Open House, the organization that fought a series of court challenges for the right to demonstrate, told Reuters: 'We are thrilled to be here today, celebrating our freedom of speech in the centre of Jerusalem.'

Police arrested more than 130 ultra-Orthodox Jews in the days before the march, some on suspicion of planning violence, others during protests in Jerusalem and elsewhere in which officers used water cannon against stone-throwing protesters. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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