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May 14, 2021 11:41 am
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Determined to Preempt ‘Antisemitic Hatred’ on Streets of Paris, French Interior Minister Bans Pro-Palestinian March and Rally

avatar by Ben Cohen

A fire burns in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles during pro-Palestinian riots in July 2014. Photo: Reuters/Benoit Tessier.

A pro-Palestinian march and rally scheduled to take place in Paris on Saturday has been banned by police, following a request from France’s Interior Minister to prevent the protest from going ahead on public security grounds.

Gérald Darmanin, the French Interior Minister, issued the request on Thursday afternoon. “In Paris, I asked the Prefect of Police to ban Saturday’s demonstrations in connection with recent tensions in the Middle East. Serious disturbances to public order were noted in 2014. Instructions were given to the Prefects to be particularly vigilant and firm,” he tweeted.

Police in the French capital confirmed that they would comply with Darmanin’s request later on Thursday evening.

In July 2014, at the height of Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza, mass anti-Israel protests in Paris descended into antisemitic violence that lasted for two days. As The Algemeiner reported at the time, synagogues and Jewish-owned stores were targeted by Muslim youths wielding bars and clubs as they chanted, “Death to Israel.”

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Darmanin’s move to ban the march came two days after CRIF, the representative body of the French Jewish community, urged the government to ensure that it would “not turn into a surge of hatred and anti-Jewish violence, as was the case in 2014.”

In a TV interview on Friday, Darmanin emphasized that “there can be no manifestation of antisemitic hatred in France.”

Didier Lallement, the Prefect of the Paris police, acknowledged that there was “a serious risk that the clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces will be transposed to [our] national territory.” Noting that several antisemitic outrages had been reported in neighboring Germany over the last five days, Lallement said there was a serious risk of similar actions in France as hostilities in the Middle East escalate.

While pro-Palestinian demonstrations elsewhere in France will be allowed to go ahead, Darmanin has told law enforcement agencies to break up any demonstrations that threaten public order, or that violate COVID-19 social distancing protocols.

One of the organizers of Saturday’s demonstration filed a challenge to the ban at an administrative court on Friday.

“By banning this demonstration, France is showing its complicity with the State of Israel, which wants to prohibit any demonstration of support for the rights of the Palestinians, who are subject to occupation, colonization and bombardments,” Walid Atallah — a representative of the Association of Palestinians of the Île-de-France — told the AFP news agency. He accused the French government of imposing the ban to “stir up tensions, as in 2014.”

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