A festive celebration in New York's haredi-dominated Borough Park community turned ugly after police ordered the unauthorized gathering to disperse.
On Sunday, a festive event was held to celebrate entering a new Torah scroll into the Dzebo Bais Hamedrash on 51nd Street between 15th and 16th Avenues. Called a 'Hachnasat Sefer Torah', the event involved thousands of Jews singing and dancing as they escort the new scroll into the sanctuary.
However, the event organizers had not received police approval for the large-scale event. Things turned ugly after law enforcement ordered the marchers to disperse for blocking traffic, deteriorating into a small riot.
According to the haredi Matzav website, police traded fisticuffs with a hassidic man who was summarily arrested. Hundreds of Yeshiva students later protested outside the 66 Precinct on 16 Avenue where he was being held, with officers being called a "Nazi" by the crowd.
In order to manage the chaos, police were forced to call in reinforcements as some Boro Park residents grew increasingly unruly.
Jewish community leaders pleaded for calm after the violence. "I’m concerned about the arrest of one of our citizens, but let’s not jump to conclusions just yet, I’m urging everyone to exercise restraint, we will get to the bottom of what happened," tweeted New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind.