Jerusalem held a gay Pride march on Thursday despite legal attempts to stop it and even an apparent bomb plot.

According to numerous reports, a small homemade bomb was found by police on a 32-year-old religious Jew, who apparently intended to use it at the parade. Nineteen protestors were also arrested for attempting to disrupt the event.

Between 2000 and 5000 people took part in the parade, which is, according to a newspaper poll, opposed by three quarters of Jerusalem’s citizens. Seven thousand police were present during the march.

The parade faced significant religious, political and legal opposition, but the event was given the go-ahead at the last minute by the courts. Three petitions to ban the parade were rejected by the Israeli Supreme Court

In their judgment, Deputy Supreme Court President Eliezer Rivlin, Justice Ayala Procaccia and Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch wrote that:

“Authorizing the Gay Pride parade allows for the realization of the right to expression and demonstration … It allows the marchers to voice their message by virtue of their right for equality and social recognition. Additionally, the permit affords deserving priority to the principle of the rule of law, and to the perception that violence is not to be rewarded nor succumbed to.”

“This is a big victory, not only for gay rights but also for the right to protest of all Israelis – gay and straight, Jew and Arab,” said Brett Lock, spokesperson for the London-based LGBTI human rights group, OutRage!. “The judges’ refusal to succumb to threats of violence by homophobic Jewish fundamentalists is a gain for all Israelis who cherish freedom and liberty.”

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