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Thousands march in Paris to back Israel

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Thousands march in Paris to back Israel
Around 5,000 marched in Paris on Thursday in support of Israel as the Middle East crisis continues. Photo: Dominique Faget/AFP
09:14 CEST+02:00
Around 5,000 people joined a pro-Israel demo in Paris on Thursday evening to show their support for the Jewish state as it continues its bombardment of Gaza amid growing international criticism.

Thousands of pro-Israel demonstrators gathered on Thursday outside the Jewish state's embassy, located near the French prime minister's office.

Police said around 4,500 people joined the rally called by the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF). Another 1,000 gathered at the Great Synagogue in Lyon.

The umbrella group CRIF had asked members of Jewish groups across France to turn out to show their support for Israel, which is facing harsh criticism from pro-Palestinian groups over the 1,300 killed during its bombing of Gaza. 

With the Gaza crisis creating tensions within France - which is home to Europe's biggest Muslim and Jewish populations, Thursday's rally was accompanied by a major security presence. Around 400 officers were posted at the demonstration with the streets around the rally cordoned off, but the demo passed off peacefully.

Demonstrators sang the French national anthem as well as the Israeli one and shouted anti-Hamas slogans. A minute's silence was held in respect of all the victims of the ongoing conflict. 

(Photo: Dominique Faget/AFP)

Last weekend as many as 6,000 pro-Israel marchers took to the streets of Marseille, chanting anti-Hamas slogans and “Israel will live”. Groups of pro-Palestinians tried to disrupt the march but were pushed back by riot police.

The demo came after several pro-Palestinian marches have been held in the capital, some of which ended in violence.

On Thursday it emerged the French government was considering banning a radical Jewish group whose members clashed with pro-Palestinian activists during rallies over Israel's offensive in Gaza. Several members of the group were present at Thursday's demo but maintained a low profile.

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