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ISLAM

Valls: These protests are forbidden

Calls surfaced Tuesday on social networks for Muslims in France to defy an official ban and hold fresh protests over an anti-Islam film that has sparked violent reactions across the world.

Valls: These protests are forbidden
Parti socialiste

The messages on Twitter and other sites called for demonstrations to be held Saturday in Paris, Marseille and other major cities, a week after police in the capital arrested 150 people for taking part in a rowdy protest near the US embassy.

Most messages read "Don't touch my Prophet", a variation of the French anti-racism slogan "Don't Touch my Mate" popular in the 1980s. 

An individual had also placed a request for permission to demonstrate Saturday outside the biggest mosque in Paris, a source told AFP.

It was not clear who was behind the appeal that comes after France's interior minister said he will prevent any further such demonstrations taking place.

"These protests are forbidden. Any incitement to hatred must be fought with the greatest firmness," Manuel Valls said Sunday.

He said that among the roughly 250 protesters on Saturday there were some groups that "advocate radical Islam", but they were not representative of the moderate Islam practised by most Muslims in France.

France is home to Western Europe's largest Islamic community, with at least four million Muslims in the country.

Protests have been staged since last Tuesday in at least 20 countries, with more than 30 people killed and dozens wounded in violence linked to the film that mocks the Prophet Muhammad and portrays Muslims as gratuitously violent.

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PROTEST

French Interior Minister asks police to ban pro-Palestinian Paris protest

France's interior minister on Thursday asked police to ban a pro-Palestinian protest in Paris this weekend over the conflict with Israel fearing a repeat of clashes during a similar situation in 2014.

French Interior Minister asks police to ban pro-Palestinian Paris protest
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin asked the Paris police chief to ban the protests on Saturday linked to the recent tensions in the Middle East. Photo: Guillaume HORCAJUELO POOL / AFP

Activists had called the protest in the Barbès district of northern Paris to demonstrate against Israel’s use of force in the Gaza Strip in response to the rocket fire by militant group Hamas at the Jewish state.

“I have asked the Paris police chief to ban the protests on Saturday linked to the recent tensions in the Middle East,” Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin wrote on Twitter.

“Serious disturbances to public order were seen in 2014,” he added, urging police chiefs elsewhere in France to also remain vigilant over demonstrations.

In a circular seen by AFP, he also urged local police chiefs to assure the “protection of places of worship, schools, cultural centres and businesses of the Jewish community.”

Several demonstrations took place in France during July 2014 to denounce an Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip.

On July 19, 2014, several thousand protesters defied a ban on a demonstration at Barbes and the rally rapidly degenerated into violent clashes that lasted for hours.

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