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Paris police ban pro-Palestinian demo

Ben McPartland · 18 Jul 2014, 13:17

Published: 18 Jul 2014 13:17 GMT+02:00

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With tensions already high in France, Paris police chiefs decided to not take any chances of further disturbances and have blocked a pro-Palestinian demo from taking place in the capital.

The rally was scheduled to take place on Saturday and if it goes ahead will see demonstrators march between Barbès and the Paris Opera house. The Prefecture de Police announced on Friday the march would not be allowed to proceed.

Police claimed their bid to prevent the demo from taking place was due to the “serious risk of public disorder in a climate of heightened tensions”.

Riot police were criticized for failing to control an anti-Israel demo last Sunday that descended into violence.

After protesters tried to storm two synagogues, a mob of Jewish militants from the Jewish Defence League, tried to take revenge and were involved in running street battles with anti-Israel protestors in central Paris.

The shocking scenes, which saw youths armed with an array of makeshift weapons, were caught on film by an eyewitness. (see below)

Eight people were arrested, with one youth sentenced to four months in prison for his part in the trouble.

On Wednesday a series of peaceful demonstrations against the Israeli bombardment of Gaza were allowed to take place and passed off without incident.

Last week’s violence led to calls for calm from the leaders of both the Jewish and Muslim communities in France.

Story continues below…

The disturbances must not “disrupt the lives of the French people, whatever their faith,” said Dalil Boubakeur, the Rector of the Grand Mosque in Paris.

The leader of France’s Jewish community, the Grand Rabbi Haim Korsia, condemned the expressions of hate towards Jews in France.

“The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a false pretext for a surge of hate that exists regularly. But Sunday, with back-to-back attacks on synagogues in Paris, we went to another level,” France's Grand Rabbi Haïm Korsia told French daily Le Parisien. “We narrowly avoided a catastrophe.”

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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