Police intervene to separate marchers and right-wing counter-protesters, despite organizers’ claim march went peacefully.
Over 4500 Palestinians and Israelis took part in the «March for Independence» Friday, calling for the recognition of a Palestinian state.
Although the organizers of the march issued a statement saying the march was carried out peacefully, police had to intervene and separate right-wing and left-wing activists.
The event was coordinated with the police, and organizers had pledged to prevent any violence from breaking out, despite the expected right-wing counter-protests.
Participants in the march held signs quoting South African leader and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela saying «only free men can negotiate», while others bore slogans calling for support of Palestinian independence.
Several MKs participated in the march, including Zehava Galon of Meretz and Dov Hanin of Hadash. Other prominent public figures took part as well, such as former Speaker of the Knesset Avraham Burg and former Attorney General Michael Ben Yair.
The march took a symbolic route, following the green line that used to divide East and West Jerusalem before the Six Day War in 1967. It began at Jaffa Gate and ended at the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, the opposite route taken by right-wing activists during Jerusalem Day last month.
«After years of Israel speaking about peace and building settlements, checkpoints, walls and outposts, the young generations from both sides are starting to understand that they are being duped,» said Hillel Ben Sasson from the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement said on Thursday.
Ben Sasson added that «in Jerusalem of all places, the heart of the conflict, Israelis and Palestinians will march together calling for independence and for an end to the running amok of the Netanyahu government, which is leading us to a political abyss.»