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Jerusalem Pride Draws Thousands of Gay Revelers and Police

Participants wave flags and hold signs during the annual Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem, June 6, 2019.

Thousands of people are marching through the streets of Jerusalem in the city's annual gay pride parade, a festival that exposes deep divisions between Israel's secular and Jewish ultra-Orthodox camps.

Some 10,000 revelers waving rainbow and Israeli flags joined the procession Thursday, as thousands of police officers in plain clothes and uniform patrolled the crowd.

The gay community's visibility in conservative Jerusalem tends to draw protest from the city's substantial Orthodox population. Many ultra-Orthodox Jews reject the public display of homosexuality as an "abomination" that desecrates the biblical city and flouts Jewish law.

Police said they arrested 17 suspects who planned to disrupt the event, including a man carrying a knife near the parade route. At the 2015 march, an ultra-Orthodox extremist stabbed a 16-year-old girl to death.