Israeli restrictions on Friday prevented many Palestinian Christians — especially those from the blockaded Gaza Strip — from taking part in Good Friday celebrations in Jerusalem's Old City, Anadolu reports.
Marked each year on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus on Mount Calvary outside Jerusalem.
Nevertheless, despite the deployment of Israeli troops on the streets of the Old City, thousands of Christians — many carrying crucifixes — marched along the Via Dolorosa on Friday to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
According to Wadie Abu Nassar, a local church official, Palestinian Christians from blockaded Gaza were unable to take part in Friday's celebrations due to restrictions imposed by the Israeli authorities.
"Israel has refused to allow Christians from Gaza to attend this year's Easter celebrations in Jerusalem," Abu Nassar said in a Friday statement.
"Access must be guaranteed to Jerusalem's holy sites without restriction," he added. "Security considerations should not override man's fundamental freedoms."