Israeli restrictions on ‘Holy Fire’ ceremony ignite Christian outrage

Occupied Jerusalem (The Inside Palestine)- Israeli police restrict number of people attempting to reach the Sepulcher Church in Jerusalem for the Holy Fire

Israeli occupation police on Saturday prevented thousands of Palestinian Christians from entering the old city of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) seeking to reach the Sepulcher Church inside the old city to mark Easter’s Holy Fire event celebrated by the Orthodox churches.

The Holy Fire is one of the main Easter events for the Orthodox churches in Al-Quds and the world and occurs a day before the Orthodox Easter when the light comes out from inside the tomb of Jesus Christ in the center of the Sepulcher Church and then sent to churches in Palestine and around the world.

Traditionally, thousands of local Christians and pilgrims attend the Holy Fire event inside the church, but this year occupation authorities have decided to restrict the number who can reach the Sepulcher Church to only 4000, a number strongly rejected by the church leaders and the community.

Israeli occupation police closed all gates leading to the old city, forcing the Christians who want to reach the church to go through only one gate, the New Gate, while being monitored and restricted by the police manning this gate.

Arrivals at the gate complained that while occupation authorities restrict access of Christians celebrating Easter and Muslims celebrating Ramadan to their holy places in Al-Quds, it allows free movement and access to the holy city to Jews celebrating the week-long Passover holiday, which ends today.

Commenting on the restrictions, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesperson for the West Bank’s Palestinian Authority, said the move was a “blatant and dangerous challenge to the heavenly religions and their sanctities.”

Source: Al Manar TV

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