Israeli police have detained at least six people in East Jerusalem after a
clash with Palestinians gathered to mark the end of a year of cultural festivities
Dozens of Palestinians had gathered in occupied East Jerusalem on Thursday to celebrate the city's selection as the 2009 "Capital of Arab Culture" by the Arab League and the UN's educational body, Unesco.
The designation is a tradition that rotates among various Arab cities annually.
Israeli police arrived at the scene of the rally at the city's Damascus Gate, in an attempt to disperse the demonstrators.
Al Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from East Jerusalem, said minor clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police broke out in front of the gate as police prevented Palestinians from participating in the gathering.
"The situation remains tense as police maintain a very heavy presence here outside Damascus gate," he said.
"This comes on the heels of a year when Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem have been trying to celebrate Jerusalem as the capital of Arab culture.
"But throughout the course of the past calendar year, Israeli officials have prevented any kind of Palestinian celebrations [and] Palestinian national festivals taking place here.
"It is endemic to what Palestinians describe as a curbing of their right to freedom of expression."
Israel captured the area in the 1967 Six Day War, annexing it and claiming all of the city as its eternal capital.
But the Palestinians have designated East Jerusalem as the capital of any future Palestinian state.