More Than 1,000 March in Jerusalem's 10th Gay Pride Parade

Marking a decade of parades in Israel's capital, demonstrators will walk the original route; organizer: ' It seems Jerusalem has acknowledged the existence of its gay community members.'

Some 1,500 people took part in Jerusalem's 10th annual Gay Pride Parade on Thursday, which began in the city's Gan Ha'atzmaut. To mark the march, earlier on Thursday unknown activists painted Jerusalem's welcome sign with the colors of the gay pride rainbow flag.

Throughout the years, parading through the streets of Jerusalem has become a battlefront between seculars and the ultra-Orthodox community. Ahead of this year's parade, a group of right-wing extremists protested against Thursday's event.

Police prepared for Thursday's event with large forces, although since 2005, when three participants were stabbed by an ultra-Orthodox man, Yishai Shlisel, the annual events have been relatively quiet.

In July 2006, the gay pride parade planned for Jerusalem aroused opposition, and many warnings received by police led to the parade being postponed to November.

Marking a decade of gay pride parades in the capital, the organizers at Jerusalem's Open House decided to walk the original route, from Gan Ha'atzmaut to Gan Hapa'amon.

"We will return to the area where three people were stabbed and we will also mark three years of the murder in Tel Aviv's Bar Noar gay center,"  said Elinor Sidi, executive director of Jerusalem Open House.

"Jerusalem has changed a lot in the past ten years, following a decade of repeated petitions," Sidi said, adding that it seems that Jerusalem has accepted its gay community members.