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Opponents attack marchers in Jerusalem pride parade

Opponents attack marchers in Jerusalem pride parade

An ultra-Orthodox Jew stabbed and wounded two marchers in the annual Jerusalem gay pride parade on Thursday. It was the most serious in a series of incidents involving opponents of the gay and lesbian gathering. Opponents tried to stop the march by throwing a stink bomb at the starting point, but several thousand marchers paraded through the center of Jerusalem anyway, braving shouts and insults from protesters, most of them young ultra-Orthodox Jews. "Homo Sex Is Immoral," read a sign one of the protesters was carrying. As the parade neared a main downtown intersection, the attacker jumped into the first group of marchers and stabbed a middle-aged man. Blood from his chest seeped through his shirt as he sat dazed at the side of the road before an ambulance came to take him to a hospital, where he was said to be seriously wounded. The man, who was not immediately identified, was marching with his two teenage daughters. One was walking on stilts and carrying a rainbow flag. The Israeli rescue service said another stabbing victim was slightly wounded. Israel Radio said police apprehended the attacker, and a number of others were arrested. The march proceeded despite the violence. "It took many years for Jerusalem to have the gay pride parade," said participant Moshik Toledano, 39, "but once it happens, it makes no difference if the ultra-Orthodox come here and try to stop it." Organizers postponed WorldPride, an international gay festival set for late summer, because of Israel's planned pullout from the Gaza Strip and part of the West Bank around the same time. But they decided to go ahead with the annual local march on Thursday, despite opposition from Orthodox Jews, who have a strong presence in the city.

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