Jerusalem Day March Through Old City Passes in Relative Calm

Annual parade in the Muslim Quarter took off without violent incidents, but chants of 'Mohammed is dead' still heard.

Visitors wave flags and dance at the entrance to Jerusalem's Old City on Sunday, June 5, 2016.
Visitors wave flags and dance at the entrance to Jerusalem's Old City on Sunday, June 5, 2016. Olivier Fitoussi

The Jerusalem Day flag march in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City took off in relative calm on Sunday evening, following earlier concerns of friction between Jewish revelers and local Arab residents. 

No altercations were reported, and a few Muslim-owned shops on Hagai Street, a main thoroughfare in the Old City, remained opened.

However, a few participants were heard shouting chants such as "the Temple will be built, the [Al-Aqsa] mosque will be burned," and "Mohammed is dead."

Participants in the flag march arrived at the march's starting point early evening on Sunday, a few hours after attempts to reroute the marchers away from the Old City's Muslim Quarter in a bid to lower tensions failed.

Revelers shout out 'Mohammed is dead' at the Jerusalem Day flag march.

Thousands of marchers were set to pass through the Old City's Muslim Quarter between 6:00 and 6:15 P.M., as part of celebrations commemorating the capture of the city's eastern sector in the 1967 Mideast war.

The annual march is typically attended by tens of thousands of religious Zionist youth and is usually a source of tension in the Old City. In previous marches, racist insults were hurled by marchers at Arabs and instances of vandalism were reported.

Per a court-ratified agreement between the state and the parade's organizers, the march will start 15 minutes earlier than scheduled. This was meant to ensure that no Jewish marchers are present in the Muslim Quarter if Ramadan begins on Sunday.

Revelers wave flags at the Jerusalem Day flag march in the capital on Sunday, June 5, 2016.
Nir Hasson

The start of Ramadan, a holiday during which Muslims fast during daylight hours for a month, is determined by Muslim clerics in Saudi Arabia.