Israeli police removed the fences placed in front of the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem at the start of Ramadan. This was said to have been decided after consultation between the police, the local administration and traders, due to growing tensions in the region.
According to the Palestinians, the police put up the fences in order to exercise more power over Israel-occupied East Jerusalem. The police themselves say the fences have been placed to keep access to a mosque free for the thousands of Muslims who want to pray there.
The measure was announced via a megaphone. Thousands of Palestinians then gathered in a plaza in East Jerusalem to celebrate their return to the city’s historic district, to which the gate is an access point. The Old Town is a popular nighttime gathering place for Muslims during Ramadan.
There has been unrest in Jerusalem since Thursday due to clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police. The youths threw stones and Molotov cocktails, and the officers tried to disperse the people with, among other things, lightning grenades and horses. As of Friday morning, it was reported that more than a hundred people had been injured. Skirmishes took place again overnight from Saturday to Sunday. The police then made seventeen arrests.
Even after the front door reopened on Sunday evening, there was still some disruption. For example, the police tried to confiscate Palestinian flags waved by protesters.