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Paris cops clash with pro-Palestinian protesters who rally despite ban

PARIS — Police officers use tear gas and water cannons in Paris to try and disperse a pro-Palestinian rally held despite a ban by authorities, who fear a flare-up of antisemitic violence during the worst fighting between Israel and the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group in years.

Thousands of people converge in the heavily immigrant Barbes neighborhood in the north of the capital, defying orders issued by loudspeakers that the march was illegal.

Officers block off wide boulevards as well as narrow streets where some of the protesters are forced to retreat, while knots of residents and passers-by watch or record the scene with their phones.

Some throw stones or try to set up roadblocks with construction barriers, but for the most part police pursue groups across the district while preventing any march toward the Place de la Bastille as planned.

“You want to prohibit me from showing solidarity with my people, even as my village is being bombed?” Mohammed, 23 and wearing a “Free Palestine” t-shirt, tells AFP.

The march was banned Thursday over concerns of a repeat of fierce clashes that erupted at a similar Paris march during the last war in 2014, when protesters took aim at synagogues and other Israeli and Jewish targets.

A French police officer runs toward pro-Palestinian protesters demonstrating in Paris despite a ban by French authorities, May 15, 2021. (Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt/AFP)
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