'We marched through blood at Jerusalem Gay Pride'

By Kat Collins
Newsbeat Reporter

image captionYasmin (right) was also at the Tel Aviv Pride event this year

"My heart was racing really fast. I could have been walking a few steps faster and it could have been me or anyone I know."

Yasmin Yusupov, 20, was taking part in Gay Pride in Jerusalem where six people have been stabbed.

"We were near the front and I started seeing a lot of people running.

"We didn't realise what happened but I was pulling the friends who were with me to run away," she tells Newsbeat.

image copyrightAP
image captionThis image of Yishai Schlissel was captured on the march

"We just banged on doors of people's houses. We tried asking them to get us inside.

"I was so scared for the friends who were with me and I was thinking about the friends away from me.

"Thinking 'what if they're there right now?'

"We all went in different directions. When we came back I saw a few bodies on the floor right in front of me.

image copyrightAP

"Everyone had blood on their hands because they were trying to help," she adds.

Michael Ross, 24, was also there.

"We didn't understand if the parade would continue or not. Some people left the area, but most of us stayed," he says.

"We started to think if it's going to be cancelled we will stay and we will scream and shout that we are not giving up."

He feels it was really important that the event carried on.

image copyrightAP

"It was very symbolic that when we continued walking the road was full of blood, full of blood and medical equipment that was left there.

"It was definitely a crazy moment. I felt like we still fight for something. We still fight for our safety and security."

Yasmin says she's glad she stayed, even though she was scared.

"People were crying and after a few minutes the stage people started saying they support us, they love us and that we were there for a reason.

"We are trying to bring a message. The fact we stayed meant we're strong. It was inspiring," she says.

Police have arrested Yishai Schlissel, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, over the attack.

He was released from jail three weeks ago after stabbing three people at the event 10 years ago.

Yasmin says people are shocked the attack was not stopped.

"No-one can believe [that] no-one followed him to make sure he didn't go anywhere near the event. Everyone knew it was happening. Why did no one stop him?"

But she says the attack is not reflective of attitudes to gay people in Israel.

"Everyone's saying it's just one voice. It's not all religious people. It's not what Israel believes in.

"It's just one wildfire crazy person. It's not representative of what we think and who we are. There is a strong voice against us but it's not everyone.

image copyrightAP

"Even when people are protesting no-one would think to hurt human life."

She describes Jerusalem as a "very religious conservative city" but calls Tel Aviv, which is about an hour away "a very open minded, very gay city".

"I was at the Tel Aviv pride," she says. "It was very accepting, very beautiful. This parade was very beautiful in Jerusalem too but it's very hard.

"Everyone is very religious. Families don't necessarily agree because they don't think it's OK to be gay.

She says people warned her not to go to the Jerusalem event. "My family wouldn't let me go because things like this happen.

"In Israel it's not so hard. In Jerusalem it is."

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