French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has banned pro-Palestine protests from taking place anywhere in the country.
Darmanin said that foreign nationals who violate the ban will be “systematically” deported.
In his announcement of the ban, Darmanin said that they would be “likely to generate disturbances to public order.”
There are approximately five million Muslims in France, and 500,000 Jewish people — which means the nation has some of the largest populations of both in all of Europe.
Thousands of people ignored the ban and attended a rally in support of Palestine on Thursday. It was broken up by police using water cannons.
Thousands of Palestine 🇵🇸 supporters gathered in central Paris, France today. pic.twitter.com/KTkkIczHU7
— Allah Islam Quran (@AllahGreatQuran) October 12, 2023
🇫🇷 Protests in France in support of Palestine are being suppressed by riot police. pic.twitter.com/eDTn2MCbLJ
— Maria (@real1maria) October 12, 2023
Riots began in France. The police are trying to disperse the protesters who came out to support Palestine.
Also, with the support of Palestine, people took to the streets in other European countries. pic.twitter.com/qH5k37RDLK
— Nothing to see (@Wagnersfamily) October 12, 2023
“We live in a country of civil law, a country where we have the right to take a stand and to demonstrate. (It is unfair) to forbid for one side and to authorise for the other,” said Charlotte Vautier, 29, an employee at a non-profit who took part in the rally, according to a report from Reuters.
Hamas has called for Muslims around the world to protest against Israel on Friday.
French President Emmanuel Macron has called Hamas “a terrorist organisation that wants the death of the people of Israel,” which has the right to defend itself by eliminating terrorists, but added that it also “has to preserve civilian lives because it’s the duty of democracies,” according to a report from the BBC.
“The only response to terrorism is one that is strong but fair,” he said.
France has boosted security for Jewish schools and synagogues over concerns about potential antisemitic activity, particularly anti-Israel vandalism, which has been on the rise.
“Since the Hamas cross-border attack from Gaza on Saturday, French police have arrested more than 20 people in dozens of antisemitic acts, including harassment of Jewish children by fellow pupils at school, the government said on Wednesday,” Reuters reports.
At least 1,417 Palestinians and 1,300 Israelis have been killed in the war since it began on Saturday.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with videos from the protest.