Dozens of activists of the Return to the Mount group – which advocates for Jewish rights to the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism – marched on Thursday for Independence Day from Zion Square in Jerusalem towards the Mount.
The marchers called to stop the Arab riots on the Mount, and carried signs including messages such as: “there is no independence without sovereignty.” The sign notes how the Mount remains under the de facto control of the Jordanian Waqf, which has banned Jewish prayer.
At the start of the march, police arrested five activists including Return to the Mount chairperson Rafael Morris, and even seized signs and loudspeakers.
The rest of the protesters were blocked at the Old City’s Jaffa Gate, when police closed the main entrance to the gate and only allowed tourists to enter through the side entrance.
Faced by the strong-arm tactics of the police, the protesters marched to the Damascus Gate on the eastern end of the northern wall of the Old City, but once there dozens of Arabs began rioting and the police evacuated the activists towards the nearby light rail station.
Only two Arab rioters were arrested for their displays of violence.