First Pride In Israeli City Of Beersheba Canceled By Court Order

Police cited potential violence as a cause for the event's cancellation.

Israeli LGBT activists have canceled a Pride event scheduled in the southern city of Beersheba after the Supreme Court restricted the event’s route.

The event was to be held today, with Pride goers marching down the city’s main thoroughfare. Beersheba police, however, deemed the route unsafe and suggested that marchers proceed on an alternate path as to avoid the anti-LGBT violence that might ensue. The court agreed, mandating that attendees walk along a series of smaller side streets.

Organizers declined the compromise, saying that the point of Pride is to be seen. Instead, they decided to cancel the march altogether and hold a demonstration in front of Beersheba’s city hall.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel responded to the controversy, stating, “It makes no sense that in the year 2016 there is insistence to turn the gay pride parade route to side streets instead of the main city streets.”

“The gay community in Beersheba is entitled to equal status in the city with the police and also the municipality, and the right to hold a pride parade on the main streets,” the statement concluded.

Members of the Israeli lesbian community pose on June 25, 2009 behind a rainbow flag with the Star of David during the annual Gay Parade in Jerusalem. More than 2,000 people took part a toned down Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem which drew only muted protest, in contrast to the violent controversy the event had stirred in the past.  AFP PHOTO/MARCO LONGARI (Photo credit should read MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)
MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images

For his part, Beersheba Mayor Ruvik Danilovich said that his city “embraces and respects all communities, including the gay community.” He added that it’s unfortunate that “extremists” made it necessary for them to change the march’s route, citing last year’s homophobic attack at Jerusalem Pride, which left a 16-year-old attendee dead.

The news out of Beersheba highlights the disparity of LGBT equality in the small nation of Israel. Just an hour north in Tel Aviv, over 200,000 people gathered for this year’s Pride march, making it one of the largest Pride gatherings in the world.

h/t: Gay Star News

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