Jerusalem police on Saturday arrested 16 ultra-Orthodox demonstrators who took part in violent clashes with security forces to protest the municipality's decision to open a parking garage on the Sabbath. Six police officers and passerby were injured during the incidents. Three of the officers required medical attention.
A protester who had joined a group of ultra-Orthodox men who blocked a road near the garage suffered moderate injuries after he was struck by a car that dragged him for several dozen meters.
Following the incident, the radical Orthodox sect that has spearheaded the demonstrations is threatening to escalate the protests.
Another victim of the unrest was a woman who was hit by shattered glass after stones were thrown at the car in which she was traveling along Bar-Ilan Street, one of the city's main thoroughfares. She was sitting in the passenger's seat and was lightly hurt.
For the first time since the municipality opened the Karta parking garage, members of the Eda Haredit sect extended the protests over the course of two days.
Authorities say an estimated 1,500 protesters took part in the violent protests. Immediately following Friday prayers, hundreds of protesters flocked to the area and tried to block cars from entering the garage. As a group of protesters blocked the way, one car began speeding off in an effort to avoid the mob and in the process struck a young man in his 20s.
Demonstrators said the driver that struck the young ultra-Orthodox man, Kafil Schwartz, acted deliberately. A rumor circulated among the protesters that a police officer who was present during the incidents instructed the driver to accelerate as his car was surrounded by a large crowd of protesters.
Dozens of demonstrators began chasing after the car involved, but the driver managed to flee the scene, and the police continue searching for him.
A Magen David Adom emergency medical crew was summoned to the scene and gave first-aid to the injured ultra-Orthodox man. After the medics managed to stabilize him, he was put in an ambulance to be taken to a nearby hospital. Some of the demonstrators began to shout calls demanding he not be taken to Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Kerem. Some ultra-Orthodox are boycotting the hospital over its involvement in the case of the Haredi mother who is accused of starving her 8-year-old son.
The clashes resumed in the morning hours Saturday, as protesters hurled rocks at passing vehicles driving along Bar-Ilan Street. It was during these incidents that a woman passenger in one of the cars was injured by pieces of shattered glass from a rock that was thrown.
Later in the day, crowds of ultra-Orthodox led a protest march toward the area in which the garage is located. After clashing with the police, some of the protesters tried to block nearby roads, but were prevented from doing so by security forces.
Police on Sunday will ask the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court to extend the remand of those arrested.
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