Police arrest dozens in Jerusalem clashes

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After a night of violence in Jerusalem, Israeli police made over 50 arrests and Palestinian medics said 100 were injured during clashes in the contested city at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

From late Thursday night into early Friday, police in riot gear and on horseback fought to keep apart two groups of protesters – Palestinian youth hurling firecrackers and setting fire to dumpsters, and Israelis chanting anti-Arab slogans.

Police deployed armoured vehicles spraying water towards the two groups of protesters.

Palestinians gathered around Jerusalem’s historic Damascus Gate and hundreds of right-wing Israelis several hundred metres away.

Clashes and other violent incidents between Palestinians and Israelis have occurred nightly since the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Palestinians say police have tried to prevent them from holding their usual Ramadan evening gatherings outside Damascus Gate, a historic landmark on the north side of the Old City and adjacent to several Palestinian neighbourhoods.

Meanwhile, a video on social media app TikTok purporting to show a Palestinian slapping an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man on Jerusalem’s light rail train has drawn protests by Israelis and calls by far-right politicians for tougher police action.

The incidents have threatened to break a sustained period of relative quiet in the holy city.

On Thursday night, hundreds of Israelis -many of them young and religious – marched through central Jerusalem towards the Damascus Gate, which police had barricaded as a precaution.

As they marched, many chanted “Death to Arabs” and some waved banners reading: “Death to terrorists”.

One man participating in the march, David, 40, said he lived far from Jerusalem but “came here to support my own people”.

“I’m Jewish and I’m a patriot and I’m proud of my country,”he said.