[link to www.haaretz.com
Police to declare high alert ahead of J'lem Gay Pride parade
By Jonathan Lis, Haaretz Correspondent
The police have announced plans to declare a state of very high alert throughout Israel and to bolster police presence in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, and the North this Thursday to field the possible violence that may result from the Gay Pride Parade planned to take place that day in Jerusalem.
Partly due to a dearth of intelligence on what to expect, police are treating the parade as an extremely sensitive event and have expressed fears that extremist elements will try to harm parade participants.
Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox community has strongly objected to holding the parade in the city.
Police have prepared for a number of possible scenarios for attacks on marchers, ranging from stabbings, like the incidents that occurred at the Gay Pride march in 2005, to a large-scale attack meant to harm many.
On the day of the march, police will deploy officers from the special police anti-terror unit ("Yamam") as well as officers trained in hostage negotiation.
In all, 7,000 police officers and 166 private security guards will provide security for the march down King David Boulevard and the rally afterwards at the Liberty Bell Garden.
Security assessments for the march are being based on information garnered from news reports in the mass media and by monitoring protest placards in the streets of Jerusalem's Old City. Police have monitored recent statements by leading ultra-Orthodox Rabbis as a means of assessing the mood in the ultra-Orthodox community regarding the march.
One of the police's chief concerns is the fact that Thursday is also the one year anniversary of the death of the Rebbe of the Gur Hassidic sect, Yaakov Aryeh Alter. Thousands of mourners are expected to attend ceremonies at the Rebbe's grave on the Mount of Olives, and police fear that many attending the ceremony will organize and take part in clashes against the parade.
To deal with what they fear could be a large number of arrests, police will clear 100 jail beds in Jerusalem's city jail and an additional 300 beds in Ma'asiyahu prison.
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