Hundreds of Palestinians protest barriers in Jerusalem during Ramadan


(JTA) — Hundreds of Palestinians have been protesting barriers placed in the Old City of Jerusalem during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The protests have centered around the Damascus Gate, a landmark and meeting point in the eastern section of the city. Palestinians typically sit on and around the steps leading to the gate following nighttime payers during Ramadan, a month of daylong fasts that end at sunset.

This year, police placed barriers on the steps of the gate, effectively preventing people from gathering there. Police said the barriers were erected to ease the flow of crowds in the area, according to Haaretz.

It is unclear if the restrictions are related to stopping the spread of COVID-19. Israel has vaccinated its population at the fastest rate in the world and recently eased a mandate on wearing masks in public. The Arab Israeli vaccination rate has lagged behind the Jewish Israeli vaccination rate.

Protests have taken place nightly since last week, when Ramadan began. In the sixth night of clashes with police Sunday, three Palestinians were arrested and four were injured, according to the Times of Israel. Police used water hoses and stun grenades in confronting the crowd. One video circulating on social media shows a police officer striking a person in custody on the head.

This week has also seen several videos circulating on social media of Palestinians attacking visibly Orthodox Jews, seemingly unprovoked. The videos show attackers slapping or throwing stones at the victims.

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