• France's news in English

'Tel Aviv beach' opens in Paris amid tight security

The Local/AFP · 13 Aug 2015, 08:08

Published: 13 Aug 2015 08:08 GMT+02:00
Updated: 13 Aug 2015 08:08 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
Paris was to deploy some 500 police along the River Seine on Thursday, at the start of a controversial beach attraction dedicated to Tel Aviv.
The city authorities' decision to devote one of its hugely popular "Paris plages" (Paris beaches) days to celebrate Tel Aviv has sparked uproar among some left-wing politicians and pro-Palestinian groups.
Protesters have vowed to celebrate a "Gaza beach" nearby and police are bracing for potentially violent clashes.
Police will search beach bags before and after the 12-hour event with security levels still on top alert after the January Charlie Hebdo attacks that left 17 dead.
The Town Hall said in a statement that the reinforcements would be in place "to prevent the disruption of public order", and would see bag searches on the site as well as extra monitoring in both directions beyond the actual site of the beach. 
The plan - which will see Israeli music, food, and games hosted on the temporary beach on the banks of the River Seine on Thursday - has proved contentious all week as leftist and pro-Palestinian groups have made their voices heard. 
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, however, wrote in an opinion piece in Le Monde newspaper on Tuesday that she supported the event and invited "Parisians to come in droves".
Prime Minister Manuel Valls tweeted out his "full support" of the plan, adding that people should "stop the flood of stupidity".
But it appears droves of Parisians will also be boycotting the event, including left-wing councillor Danielle Simonnet who has been among the most vocal opponents. She told France Inter radio that the plan was nothing but "a nice bit of PR" for the Israeli government. 

(A beach goer at the Paris Plages. Photo: AFP)
Simonnet was supported by pro-Palestinian group CAPJPO-Europalestine, which called for protests if "this obscene event is not cancelled".
Critics said the timing of the tribute to Tel Aviv was particularly ill-advised, coming after a Palestinian toddler burned to death in a July 31st arson attack in a West Bank village, suspected to be the work of Jewish extremists.
The child's father died at the weekend of his injuries.
Many social media users, meanwhile, expressed their outrage, with some calling for the French to boycott the event, while many others shared graphic pictures of children dead on the beaches of Gaza. One went as far as to create a moving "Gif" image showing what appeared to be a missile hitting children playing on the Paris beach.
Their tweets continued to flood Twitter since the weekend. 

(Photo: Studio Touch & L'Agence Culturelle)
A petition urging Paris authorities to call off the Tel Aviv-themed day had gathered almost 23,000 signatures by Wednesday afternoon.
Story continues below…
Eytan Schwartz, foreign policy advisor to Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, praised Hidalgo's "courage" in "rejecting pressure and attempts to have this event cancelled". 
"We are delighted with our cooperation with the city of Paris, which stands by its friends," he told AFP.
France is home to Europe's largest Jewish community and the largest number of Muslims on the continent although its secular laws mean that no precise figures are available.
Tensions between the two communities burst into the open last year during Israel's offensive in Gaza, especially in the working-class Paris areas of Barbes and Sarcelles.
A banned pro-Palestinian demonstration last July turned into a running battle between rival protesters and the police.

The Local/AFP (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Is Marks & Spencer to close Champs-Elysées store?
Photo: AFP

Is it goodbye to crumpets, jam, and English biscuits?

After Calais, France faces growing migrant crisis in Paris
Photo: AFP

While all the focus has been on the closure of the Jungle in Calais, France must deal with the thousands of migrants sleeping rough in Paris. And their numbers are growing.

Restaurant boss suspected of kidnapping Cannes millionaire
The Nice residence of the president of Cannes' Grand Hotel, Jacqueline Veyrac. Photo: AFP

A restaurant owner 'harbouring a grudge', apparently.

Le Thought du Jour
Vive le pont - The best thing about French public holidays
Photo: AFP

The UK might have guaranteed public holidays, but France has "les ponts".

What's on in France: Top things to do in November
Don't miss the chocolate fashion show in Lyon. Photo: Salon du chocolat

The autumn is in full swing in France, and there's plenty to do.

What Paris 'squalor pit' Gare du Nord will look like in future
All photos: Wilmotte et Assoicés

IN PICTURES: The universally accepted 'squalor pit of Europe' is finally getting a facelift.

Halloween: The ten spookiest spots in Paris
Is there really a ghost on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower? Photo: AFP

Read at your own peril.

Halloween holiday in France: Traffic nightmares and sun!
Photo: AFP

But it's great news for the country's beleaguered tourism industry.

French MPs vote to make Airbnb 'professionals' pay tax
Photo: AFP

Do you make a lot of money through Airbnb in France? You'll have to pay a share to the taxman in future.

France and Britain accused of abandoning Calais minors
Photo: AFP

Scores of young migrants are forced to sleep rough for a second night.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
Mouth fun? French words you just can't translate literally
How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Lonely Planet says Bordeaux is world's best city to visit
What rights to a future in France for Calais migrants?
Myth busting: Half of French adults are now overweight
How speaking French can really mess up your English
The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
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
jobs available