Paris rally demanding justice for Sarah Halimi draws thousands

Thousands of demonstrators are attending the Paris rally to demand justice for Sarah Halimi.

At the demonstration, which was held under tight security arrangements in a cordoned-off enclosure set up on Trocadero Square, the Jewish umbrella group CRIF plays a video on a giant screen in which French Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia demands another “trial of facts,” even if it ends without a sentence.

The rally Sunday is the first time in decades that a large number of French Jews have gathered to protest against organs or actions of the French state.

Jacques Essebag, a French-Jewish comedian who is known by the stage name Arthur, in a video message says he has “decided to start using drugs because in France you can do whatever you want, even kill your neighbor if you don’t like her, if you use drugs.” He then adds: “What has become of this country.”

A person holds a placard reading “Stoned justice?” as people gather to ask justice for late Sarah Halimi on Trocadero plaza in Paris on April 25, 2021 (GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP)

The event features many Israeli flags, French ones and those of the far-right Jewish Defense League.

The video message of Mayor Anne Hidalgo, a Socialist politician, provokes whistles and booing from many protesters at the event, which did not feature live speeches due to COVID-19 measures.

Organized by the CRIF umbrella of French Jewish communities, the rally is “to show our astonishment at a decision that conforms to the the law, but not to justice,” CRIF writes.

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