French court bans pro-Palestinian demonstration, organizers defiant

French court bans pro-Palestinian demonstration, organizers defiant


A French court on Friday upheld a police ban on a pro-Palestinian demonstration scheduled for Saturday in Paris, but organizers said they would not cancel the march.

Police on Thursday banned Saturday’s demonstration over the ongoing conflict with Israel, fearing a recurrence of the clashes during a similar protest in 2014.

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A French court on Friday upheld a police ban on a pro-Palestinian demonstration scheduled for Saturday in Paris, but organizers said they would not cancel the march.

Police on Thursday banned Saturday’s demonstration over the ongoing conflict with Israel, fearing a recurrence of the clashes during a similar protest in 2014.

Following the court ruling on Friday, the lawyers now say they will turn to the highest administrative court in France, the Conseil d’Etat. However, the protest organizers said they had no plans to call off the action on Saturday.

“We refuse to silence our solidarity with the Palestinians and we are not prevented from demonstrating,” said the Association of Palestinians in the Ile-de-France region and other groups shortly after the court ban was announced.

Among the 30 groups planning the action on Saturday are anti-fascists and the new anti-citalist party.

Representatives of the association previously told AFP that France was “the only democratic country that bans these demonstrations”.

Police on Thursday banned Saturday’s demonstration over the ongoing conflict with Israel, fearing a recurrence of the clashes during a similar protest in 2014.

After the failure of their first petition, the lawyers now say they will turn to the highest administrative court in France, the Conseil d’Etat.

Sefen Guez Guez, one of the lawyers, had previously described the police ban as “disproportionate” and “politically motivated”.

Paris Police Chief Didier Lallement said allowing the demonstration would risk “a serious disturbance of public order” and added that he feared “acts against synagogues and Israeli interests”.

While referring to violence at the 2014 demonstration, Guez Guez replied that many protests have had “no problem at all” since then.

The planned demonstration would be aimed at both the French government and Israel. The organizers say Paris is too cheap for the state in the Middle East.

President Emmanuel Macron’s office said he spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday and “offered condolences to the victims of the rocket fire called for by Hamas and other terrorist groups”.

The statement said Macron had called for a return to peace and “told his counterpart his concern about the civilian population in Gaza”.

French politicians were largely partisan over the protest ban, with Macron’s center-right party and right-wing opposition supporting the move while leftists calling it an unacceptable attack on freedom of expression.

However, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, a socialist, said the government had made a “wise” decision.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin on Thursday called on police chiefs in other parts of France to keep an eye on the planned demonstrations and, if necessary, to ban them and to strengthen police protection of the Jewish community.

Globally, only Israel and the United States have a larger Jewish population than France.

Beyond the Paris ban, police in the Mediterranean port city of Marseille said one march there had to be converted into a stationary protest, while Darmanin said another one in eastern Strasbourg had also been blocked.

Police in Lyon and Bordeaux told AFP that there were no restrictions on rallies there.

Israel bombarded Gaza with artillery and air strikes on Friday after another rocket fire from the Hamas-led enclave, exacerbating a conflict that has now killed at least 141 people.

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