Some of the most curious costumes worn along the parade route belonged to protesters. Behind a barricade, a group of men wore the fringed Jewish prayer garment known as the tzitzit and held up anti-gay signs bearing the logo of a group calling itself the Jewish Political Action Committee.
“Judaism prohibits homosexuality,” one sign read. But the men were not Jewish. They were Mexican laborers, protesting because they were paid to protest, said one of the men, who would not give his name.
Hershie Freed, a member of the political action committee, an Orthodox Jewish group based in Brooklyn, said that the men were supplementary troops, filling in for the Jewish students who would normally be called upon to demonstrate. “The rabbis said that the yeshiva boys shouldn’t come out for this because of what they would see at the parade,” Mr. Freed said.
The group was fenced off from the parade, at Fifth Avenue and 15th Street, by the police. Parade-goers tossed open water bottles at the protesters and kissed defiantly in front of them. “It’s been a lot of confrontation,” Mr. Freed said. “Whenever you have emotions, you have a situation.”
Late in the afternoon, a fight broke out. Bystanders said the gates separating the Jewish group opened and parade-goers swarmed in. Jasmine Brob, 19, said an Orthodox Jewish man from the committee swung at her friend, and Mrs. Brob punched the man in the eye.
“I ducked and then I swung at him,” she said. The man, whose skin around his eye was red with a small cut, held his sign high. The group left shortly after.