JERUSALEM (AP) — Police are preventing hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews from blocking a main street in protest against a Jerusalem municipal parking lot that is open on the Jewish Sabbath.

Ultra-Orthodox activists have repeatedly staged protests since the parking lot opened two years ago. They say operating it on a Saturday is a desecration of the Sabbath, Judaism's biblically mandated day of rest.

On Saturday, protesters gathered at a main junction, screamed at police officers and pelted them with water bags. Police stopped them from blocking traffic.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews make up a third of Jerusalem's more than 700,000 residents.

Most work places in Jerusalem's Jewish neighborhoods shut down for the Sabbath, which lasts from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.