100s Block Traffic in Protest over Teens' Murder

Mainly peaceful rally turns violent as Arabs attempt to taunt demonstrators - provoking a violent response; 47 arrests.

Ari Soffer ,

The body of Gilad Sha'ar is transported from
The body of Gilad Sha'ar is transported from
Flash 90

Roughly 400 people protested at the entrance to Jerusalem over the murders of three teenagers Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Sha'ar and Naftali Frenkel, blocking traffic near the capital's iconic Chords Bridge, close to the Central Bus Station.

The protest began peacefully - if noisily - as demonstrators chanted nationalist slogans and handed out stickers reading "Government of Israel: enough talking, we demand revenge!" Activists also called on Israel to apply the death penalty for terrorist murderers.

But then violence erupted, as several Arab passersby attempted to taunt the crowd and were subsequently attacked by angry demonstrators. Scuffles between demonstrators, police and Arab extremists spread to the Machaneh Yehuda Market.

At least 47 protesters were arrested in the scuffles.

Police officers acted to defend a local Arab who ran afoul of the protest on Jerusalem's main Yafo Street, which runs across the north side of the Market, reports Yedioth Aharonoth. Allegedly the police tried to evacuate the Arab man via a police car, and later used force to disperse the protesters.

Former MK and nationalist activist Dr. Michael Ben Ari posted a clip from the demonstration on his Facebook wall, and explained that demonstrators were disrupting traffic in order to send a message.

"We are here at the entrance to Jerusalem to stop (daily) life for a few minutes, in order to preserve life from here on in," he said.

The protests came as the funerals for the three murdered youths are underway. After individual eulogies were recited at each of their respective hometowns, their bodies are currently being transported to Modiin cemetery where they will be laid to rest side-by-side.

Thousands of people have flocked from across the country to attend in a show of solidarity to the families. Police have advised drivers to avoid taking route 443, which is partially closed as traffic has come to a virtual standstill there.