Paris Police Use Water Cannons and Tear Gas to Disperse Pro-Palestine Rally

Pro-Palestine Rally in Paris Dispersed

In a tense situation in Paris, water cannons and tear gas were employed by the police to disperse a banned pro-Palestine rally.

This action came in response to Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin’s statement that there is “no place” for such demonstrations in the aftermath of the recent Hamas terrorist attacks.

Protesters Gather in Paris

Crowds gathered at Republic square in the French capital, voicing their support for Palestine with chants of ‘Free Palestine,’ ‘End the Siege of Gaza,’ ‘Israel murderer,’ and ‘Macron accomplice,’ referring to French President Emmanuel Macron’s support of Israel.

Hundreds of demonstrators carried Palestinian flags and symbols related to the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict that escalated after a violent Hamas attack on Israeli civilians on Saturday.

Police Action

Shortly after 8 pm, a water cannon soaked many of the roughly 2,000 protesters, causing them to disperse.

Tear gas was then used as CRS riot patrols moved in to clear the area. A police chief on the scene stated, ‘Our orders are to prevent the protest continuing,’ and urged people to leave the area.

History of Protest Bans

It’s important to note that French police have consistently banned pro-Palestine demonstrations since the Israel-Gaza War of 2014, often citing ‘threats to public order’ as the rationale.

However, critics argue that such bans infringe on principles of freedom and free speech.

Organizers and Protester Response

Two groups, the Association France Palestine Solidarite and the Collectif National Paix Juste Durable Palestine, organized the protest on Thursday evening.

The ban was implemented once again, with the Paris police citing ‘the risk of disturbance to public order’ as the reason.

One protester, Charlotte Vautier, 29, expressed her discontent, stating, ‘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 authorize for the other, and that does not reflect the reality of Palestine.’

Antisemitic Acts on the Rise

Notably, as tensions have escalated following the recent Hamas attacks on Israeli towns, France has seen a surge in antisemitic acts.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin reported over a hundred antisemitic acts, including graffiti tags and swastikas.

The conflict has taken a toll on France’s Jewish and Muslim communities, the largest in Europe, sometimes leading to tensions between the two groups.

French President’s Response

French President Emmanuel Macron, in a televised address on Thursday evening, expressed “steadfast support” for Israel in the wake of the attacks.

He called for national unity and efforts to prevent the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from spilling over into France, where antisemitic acts have been on the rise.

Macron’s address aimed to maintain stability in a country with diverse communities.

Casualties and Conflict

The Israeli response to the recent attacks involved the most powerful bombing campaign on Gaza, ruled by Hamas, in the 75-year history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The bombardment resulted in a significant number of casualties and the destruction of neighborhoods, as reported by the Palestinian Health Ministry.

The situation remains tense, with international concerns about further escalations.

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