Israel Gaza Conflict: Thousands Of Pro-Palestinians Demonstrate In Paris As France Jails 3 Pro-Palestinian Rioters

 @PeterMalbin1p.malbin@ibtimes.com on July 23 2014 4:35 PM
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Pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Paris, July 23, 2014 Reuters

 

Thousands of people gathered in Paris amid tight security Wednesday to demonstrate against Israel’s continuing attacks in the Gaza Strip, in the first authorized pro-Palestinian protest in the French capital since a July 13 march ended in clashes, according to France24.

The police estimated 14,500 people participated in Wednesday's pro-Palestinian rally. Despite fears that the protest would repeat the violence of this past weekend's unauthorized demonstrations in Paris and its northern suburb of Sarcelles, there was no reported unrest. 

A French court has jailed three men for rioting after a pro-Palestinian rally in a mixed suburb of Paris degenerated into anti-Semitic violence on Sunday, the BBC reports.

The three men, aged 21 and 28, were given sentences of between six and 10 months for their part in the rioting in Sarcelles on Sunday. A fourth man was given a suspended sentence while a minor received a fine.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls condemned the violence, which erupted at a protest over Israel's actions in Gaza, the BBC reports. And European Union foreign ministers condemned anti-Semitic incidents at Gaza protests across the continent when they met on Tuesday.

Jewish-owned businesses and a synagogue were targeted in Sarcelles during Sunday's protest, which had been banned by the authorities.

Three men convicted of rioting on the same day in the Parisian district of Barbes were given suspended sentences on Tuesday.

A week before the violence in Sarcelles, protesters had tried to storm two Paris synagogues, prompting the government to impose a ban on demonstrations.

France has both the largest Muslim and largest Jewish communities in the EU.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, France's Laurent Fabius and Italy's Federica Mogherini issued a joint statement after they met in Brussels.

"Anti-Semitic rhetoric and hostility against Jews, attacks on people of Jewish belief and synagogues have no place in our societies," the ministers said.

While they respected demonstrators' freedom of speech and right to assemble, they added, they would also do everything possible to fight "acts and statements that cross the line to anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia."

A new, legal pro-Palestinian rally is due to be held in the French capital on Wednesday evening, organized by leftist groups. About 30 MPs from the ruling Socialist Party are due to attend, according to Le Parisien daily. Valls said he had been given security guarantees by the organizers.

 

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