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IN IMAGES: Paris protest in support of Palestinians

Ben McPartland · 24 Jul 2014, 09:06

Published: 24 Jul 2014 09:06 GMT+02:00

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Several thousands held a fresh protest in Paris on Wednesday against the Israeli assault in Gaza. There was a huge police presence accompanying the demo after similar rallies had descended into violence and looting.

Police said the march gathered about 14,500 people, while organisers put the figure at 25,000.

The marchers, many of whom held Palestinian flags or stickers saying "Boycott Israel", shouted slogans such as "Israel killer" and "Long live Palestine, long live the resistance!".

Many protesters expressed their anger towards the French government and the country's president for failing to take a hardline stance against Israel.

Mina McCamery, from Paris told The Local: "I voted for Hollande and I would never expect this stance from a Socialist government. By not standing up to Israel he is legitimising the massacre of Palestinians.

"France has to be tough against Israel and impose economic and political sanctions. That's the only way they will listen."

McCamery and other protesters The Local spoke to, were keen to insist that the protest was not anti-Semitic.

"We are not against Jewish people. We are against zionism and what is going on in Palestine," she said.

At the end of the protest members of Jewish anti-zionist organisation were loudly cheered after leading chants of "Free Gaza" to a group of around 200 protesters.

"The state of Israel has no right to speak in the name of the Jewish people," the speakers told the crowd. "The state of Israel represents terrorism. Israel out of Palestine!"

Here's some images from the demo.

The crowds at the protest were a mix of young and old, leftist political parties, trade union members, men and women, all calling for an end to Israel's offensive.

Protesters called for a crackdown on right-wing Jewish militant group the LDJ (Jewish Defence League), who are considered a "terrorist group" by the FBI in the United States. Members of the LDJ have been involved in recent street battles with pro-Palestinian protesters at previous demos, when synagogues were targeted.

There was a huge police presence in Paris on Wednesday, but the demo was mainly policed by its own organisers, who were intent on keeping the peace and avoiding any violence in front of the watching media.

Story continues below…

A group of youths at the front of the protest chant "Israel murderers" throughout the protest.

Riot police, ready to fire tear gas, blocked the Alexander III bridge over the Seine.

Members of an anti-zionist Jewish group were loudly cheered by protesters after they denounced the state of Israel and led chants of "Free Gaza".

Although there was no anti-Semitic chanting, some youths were photographed doing the controversial "quenelle" salute, which many argue has become an anti-Semitic sign.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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