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Huge broom fight between priests at church said to be the birthplace of Jesus

Dec 28, 2011, 6:38 PM EDT

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Mideast Palestinians Brawling Monks AP

Sorry this is somewhat off topic — unless fighting with brooms in a church becomes a sport (your move, ESPN Deportes). It all happened in Bethlehem, two days after Christmas, as groups of rival priests attacked each other with brooms during the traditional cleaning of the Church of the Nativity. That’s the church in the West Bank that is said to be on the site where Jesus was born. Rival groups of Armenian and Greek Orthodox clergymen had a dispute over territorial boundaries in the church, and decided to throw down. Yep. Things got so raucous that Palestinian police — which I’m pretty sure have better things to do — were called in to quell the riot.

Video here.

Bemused tourists looked on as about 100 priests fought with brooms while cleaning the church in preparation for Orthodox Christmas, on 7 January.

Palestinian police armed with batons and shields broke up the clashes.

Police are calling it a “scuffle,” but in looking at the video, it seemed like much more than that. I’ve seen mellower gang wars.

Of course to the Palestinian police, anything that doesn’t involve tanks and rockets is probably classified as a scuffle.

source: AP

source: AP

Priests brawl in Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity [BBC News]