Several thousands hold a fresh protest against Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Paris amid tight security, days after similar rallies descended into anti-Semitic violence and looting.
The French government, which had banned the prior protests in an effort to restrain what it called anti-Semitic radicals, authorized Wednesday’s march after its organizers gave “security guarantees,” Prime Minister Manuel Valls says.
A police source says more than 1,000 undercover and uniformed officers are deployed along the march route, which ends in the upscale Invalides area where several government ministries are located.
The marchers, many of whom hold Palestinian flags or stickers saying “Boycott Israel,” shout slogans such as “Israel — killer” and “Long live Palestine, long live the resistance!”
Samira Cheblal, a marcher, says she has come with a simple message: “Stop the massacre of children and civilians.”
In addition to the Paris event, staged by a coalition of pro-Palestinian and left-wing groups, demonstrations are also held in the cities of Lyon, Toulouse, Lille and Reims.
Meanwhile, French President Francois Hollande issues a reminder to protesters that the “responsibility of the state, the government and the president is to ensure that order is respected,” while Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve warns that anyone caught shouting “Death to the Jews!” or burning an Israeli flag during the marches will be arrested.
But Cazeneuve also denounces the Jewish Defense League — deemed a “right-wing terrorist group” by the FBI — whose members clashed with pro-Palestinian supporters in an earlier Paris demonstration.