PARIS — Fourteen French police officers were wounded and 38 people were arrested at an unauthorized rally to protest Israel’s actions in Gaza.
The clashes in Paris occurred as approximately 3,000 protesters, who on Saturday defied a city-issued ban on their planned demonstration near the Gare Du Nord train station, began marching up Barbes Boulevard, a police source said. When riot police stopped them, they hurled bottles and other objects at the officers, resulting in minor injuries.
Police responded by firing tear gas canisters at the crowd and arresting suspected rioters.
In Brussels, calls to “kill the Jews” were heard at a demonstration of a few thousand people, where approximately 200 protesters smashed shop windows and parked cars. Some of the men gave chase to a man they said was Jewish, but he escaped, the online edition of the Le Soir daily reported.
In London, approximately 10,000 people attended a protest rally that featured calls to destroy Israel.
Similar calls were heard in Paris, where protesters also burned Israeli flags as the crowd cheered them on. One group of a dozen men spoke loudly about “hunting Jews and killing them.”
Jewish shop owners closed down their businesses and stayed away from the area on Saturday, according to Victor Sofer, a Jewish barber. “They own the streets now,” he said of the protesters.
During the protest rally, a few dozen men began running for the Gare du Nord station while shouting “LDJ” — the initials of French far-right Jewish Defense League. But they found no LDJ activists at the station entrance, which they proceeded to block while waving flags of Arab countries ansd of France.
Several activists from LDJ and other Jewish groups discreetly marched along with the pro-Palestinian demonstration to alert Jews in case protesters began marching on Jewish institutions.