Six Cops Hurt by Rocks Thrown by Haredi Protestors in Jerusalem

Police prevent demonstrators from breaking into city hall; protests over opening of parking lot on Shabbat.

Stone-throwing Haredim protestors lightly wounded six police officers Saturday during a demonstration against Jerusalem's decision to open a municipal parking lot on Shabbat.

The ultra-Orthodox demonstrators trading blows with police as officers tried to prevent them from storming Jerusalem city hall. Firing water cannons, police eventually managed to disperse the crowd; protestors later rallied in Haredi neighborhoods of the city.

An organizer of the protest told a reporter from Army Radio Saturday that they would "ignite the city" and "do everything we can to prevent the opening of the parking lot," referring to the Shifra parking lot, which the city decided to open free of charge on Saturdays to help accommodate weekend visitors to the city.

A coalition of students and secular residents of the city are organizing a counter protest.

On Friday, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat traveled to the house of Haredi leader Rabbi Yitzhak Tuvia Weiss, in an attempt to cool tensions and prevent the protests.

The sides were making progress until the meeting broke down, according to Haredi sources. Weiss then reportedly vowed to personally lead the protests.

Barkat's spokesperson said, however, that the meeting ended "without an agreement, but with a positive and respectful atmosphere."

Both sides began preparations for a clash after the collapse of the talks. Flyers announcing the protests were plastered throughout Haredi neighborhoods and loudspeakers announced the protest for Saturday; police, for their part, began preparations for a mass protest.