June 6 (UPI) -- Thousands of advocates showed up Thursday to Jerusalem's Gay Pride Parade, an event that might have been marred by a knife attack if it wasn't for attentive security officers.
Authorities said officers found a knife hidden in one man's shoe, and arrested him. A total of 17 people were arrested for disrupting the parade. Jerusalem police chief Doron Yadid told reporters one was carrying pepper spray.
An estimated 10,000 people and 2,500 police officers were at Thursday's event, including border agents and undercover officers. Authorities said they watched a smaller crowd of about 300 who joined a counterprotest.
Israel's first openly gay minister, interim justice chief Amir Ohana, became a target of some heckling at the event. Video footage showed a crowd booing and chanting "embarrassment." Ohana is serving in the transitional government until new Knesset elections Sept. 17.
The night before the parade, police arrested Moshiko Ben Zikri at a countering rally. Officials said Zikri has disrupted the parade in previous years by posing as a supporter and sneaking onto the podium where he would rant against the gay community. The first event was held in 2002.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfield told The Jerusalem Post security has increased since an ultra-Orthodox protester stabbed multiple people at the event in 2015. Sixteen-year-old Shira Banki died and five others were injured.