President Emmanuel Macron has urged his people to remain calm and united and refrain from bringing the Israel-Hamas conflict home, but his government even formulated a new decree indicating that the country would automatically deport foreign nationals seen or caught publicly "supporting" the Arab ethnonational group.
"Pro-Palestinian demonstrations must be prohibited because they are likely to generate disturbances to the public order," Darmanin said, adding that any organization of such protests will lead to arrests. He also called on the police to protect all locations visited by French Jews such as synagogues and schools, and said any foreigner committing acts of anti-Semitism on French soil would be "immediately expelled."
Demonstrators in Paris rally in support of Palestine against the Israeli aggression despite the government complete ban on all pro-Palestine protests
French police currently warning marchers to end the protest and leave the scene pic.twitter.com/3HzBbX0E89
— Hussein (@EyesOnSouth1) October 12, 2023
Macron has condemned the deadly attack by the Palestinian militant Hamas group and voiced solidarity with Israel. "This event is an earthquake for Israel, the Middle East, and beyond," Macron said in a TV address shortly after the announcement of the ban. "Let's not pursue at-home ideological adventures by imitating or projecting. Let's not add, through illusions or calculations, domestic divides to international divides. The shield of unity will protect us from hatred and excesses."
The several hundred pro-Palestinian demonstrators ignored the prohibitions and gathered in the historic Place de la Republique on Thursday in the French capital in separate groups. The demonstrators whistled, clapped, and also sang slogans in French including "We are all Palestinian" and "Palestine will live, Palestine will prevail." They were also chanting "Israel murderer" and "Macron accomplice."
The ban on pro-Palestinian rallies is "not normal under the rule of law," one attendee named Ryan told Reuters. "In France, the great country that they say France is, you cannot demonstrate as is your right, freely. Unfortunately, freedom is no longer here, and we are forced to defy French law, as one would say, and demonstrate to show the truth."
"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," said 29-year-old Charlotte Vautier, an employee at a non-profit who took part in the rally. The cops used teargas and water cannons to break up the banned rallies, which enraged the rioters even more. (Related: Student groups call for the targeting of Israeli CIVILIANS in pro-Palestine "Day of Resistance" protests.)
BREAKING: Police fire tear gas at pro-Palestine protesters in Paris after France orders ban on all pro-Palestinian protestspic.twitter.com/8xowi5D446
— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) October 12, 2023
France is home to Europe's largest Muslim and Jewish communities. The Middle East conflict has often stoked domestic tensions in the past. Since the Hamas cross-border attack from Gaza on Saturday October 7th, the cops 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.
Macron's government is not for completely suspending the European Union's aid for Palestine amid the ongoing war between Hamas and Israel. "We are not in favor of suspending aid that directly benefits the Palestinian people," the French president told the reporters after a joint French-German Cabinet meeting in Hamburg. According to him, a review was already underway to ensure that their humanitarian assistance was not used to finance Hamas' activities. "The aid is used for providing water, health services, food, and education for the civilian population," he claimed.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz expressed his confidence that their financial assistance is not going to Hamas. However, due to the recent developments in the region, they will take a closer look at these aid programs for the Palestinians. "We are talking about humanitarian assistance, provided also in areas far away from the recent incidents so that people can have water and food," he said, pointing out that humanitarian projects were carried out not only in Gaza but also in the West Bank and in some neighboring countries. He also vowed to make sure that through these assistance programs, no structure is supported that has anything to do with terrorism. "We are confident that this is not the case, but we must look at these again after these developments," he added.
The militant group Hamas launched Operation Al-Aqsa Flood against Israel early last Saturday. It fired a barrage of rockets that infiltrated Israel by land, air, and sea. The group claimed that the attack was in response to the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem and increased settler violence against Palestinians. In retaliation, the Israeli military launched "Operation Swords of Iron" against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. More than 1,000 Israelis have been killed and over 2,600 others wounded in the fighting, according to the Israeli Health Ministry.
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