• France's news in English

Paris police ban pro-Palestinian demo

Joshua Melvin · 25 Jul 2014, 13:57

Published: 25 Jul 2014 13:57 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

French police said Friday that a protest planned for the weekend in Paris against Israel's Gaza offensive has been banned, following several similar rallies that turned violent.

The ban, announced by police on Friday, comes in the wake of clashes earlier this month at pro-Palestinian demonstrations in which some protesters shouted anti-Semitic slogans and fought with police. Two of the rallies had been banned but went ahead anyway.

Earlier this week, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned that pro-Palestinian protests that carried a risk of turning violent would be banned.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the decision to ban the march was taken after authorities discovered that the demonstration would be spearheaded by the same organizers that held an unauthorized protest in the heart of Paris last Saturday and which ended with demonstrators clashing with police.

We want to “prevent more hate from spilling out on the streets of Paris,” he was quoted as saying by the daily newspaper Le Figaro. Following Friday's announcement, Cazeneuve called on the organizers to cancel the rally.

"I urge the organizers to abandon the event on Saturday," he told AFP, accusing them of taking a "high-risk path" if they went ahead.

But a lawyer representing the organizers of the rally said they had lodged a legal challenge against the ruling.

"The government is trying to ban a fundamental right", said Omar Alsoumi, an organizer of the protest and member of the Palestinian Youth movement.

On Wednesday, several thousand people protested peacefully in Paris against the Israeli offensive in Gaza.

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

The government, which had banned the prior protests seeking to restrain what it called anti-Semitic radicals, authorized the march after its organizers gave "security guarantees."

Story continues below…

Israel's offensive in Gaza, which is in its 18th day, has killed more than 800 Palestinians and 33 Israelis.

The conflict has stirred up huge passions in France -- home to the largest Muslim and Jewish communities in western Europe with around five million Muslims and half a million Jews.

SEE ALSO: 'Anti-Semitic riots': 'We may leave France'

Joshua Melvin (joshua.melvin@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available