Some 100,000 people marched in the Tel Aviv Pride Parade on Friday, calling for equality of all genders and sexual orientations.
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Shortly before the start of the march, Israel Police arrested a Tel Aviv resident in his 30s on suspicion of planning to carry out an attack on marchers. The suspect was armed with an electric taser, nun-chucks, chains and other weapons. Three para-gliders were arrested as well, after flying over the area marked for the March. Around 50 people were detained in total for various reasons, including suspected attempts at hurting police or attendees.
As the parade began on Friday, the Health Ministry reinstated the indoor mask mandate to stem the spread of the coronavirus vaccine. The Health Ministry also recommended that Israelis wear masks outdoors during mass public events, specifically citing the Tel Aviv Pride events.
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“I call on the participants at the Pride March to celebrate and have fun, but at the same time to adhere to the guidelines,” Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said.
The parade was limited in scope compared to previous years, starting at noon on Shalag Street alongside Gordon Beach and continuing south along the boardwalk to Charles Clore Park.
Police rejected some of the routes that were suggested over fears they would be overcrowded, and in light of the lessons learned from the Mount Meron disaster in April when 45 people were killed, a police source said.
The parade route was only 1.7 kilometers (1 mile) in length, in part due to light rail construction around the city. Streets along the route were closed to motor vehicles beginning at 9 A.M.
Among the closed off streets were Hayarkon Street southbound from Jabotinsky to Shalag; Hayarkon northbound from Carmelit to Mapu; Herbert Samuel southbound from Shalag to Yehezkel Kaufman; Yehezkel Kaufman from Yosef Halevy to Eilat Street; Allenby northbound from Ben Yehuda; and Frishman from Sirkin to Herbert Samuel. Other streets that cross Hayarkon or Herbert Samuel were closed off for a few blocks near the beach.
Some 2,000 police officers and another 1,000 security personnel were deployed around Tel Aviv during the march. In addition, 300 cameras were placed along the route and a police helicopter hovers the participants, while observers were placed on rooftops and undercover officers deployed to keep the participants safe.
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said he was proud to see the annual Pride March serving as a "global inspiration."