The French Interior Minister Gérald Darminin announced a ban on pro-Palestinian rallies on Thursday following Hamas’s Saturday attack on Israel, according to AFP. After Darminin made his announcement, thousands attended protests that broke out nationwide in opposition. French police and members of the gendarmerie employed tear gas and water cannons to disperse the outlawed protests, with at least 20 arrests made.
In his message to the police following the ban, Darminin explained that “Pro-Palestinian demonstrations must be prohibited because they are likely to generate disturbances to the public order.”
The largest protest (which took place in Paris) included slogans in French including ‘We are all Palestinian’ and ‘Palestine will live, Palestine will prevail’, ‘Israel murderer’, ‘Macron accomplice’ and ‘Palestine will win’ and waved Palestinian flags. Protesters were concerned about the implications of restricting the right to protest, which is considered to be under threat in France by Amnesty.
There were more than 100 anti-Semitic incidents recorded in France since the Hamas attack on Saturday. After National Assembly President Yaël Braun-Pivet received death threats following her decision to light Parliament in the colors of the Israeli flag and hold a minute’s silence for the victims of the Hamas attack before an Assembly session on Tuesday, police began guarding the homes of leading Jewish MPs.
In a video address to the French people, President Macron said ‘Hamas carried out a plan that is unprecedented in its scale, barbarity and human toll’, ‘France condemns in the strongest possible manner these atrocious acts and let us say it clearly: Hamas is a terrorist group. Hamas seeks above all the destruction and death of the people of Israel…’. He made it clear that in his opinion ‘This is not a war between the Israelis and the Palestinians, it is a war waged by terrorists against a nation, a country, a society of democratic values. We have assured Israel and its people of our unfailing solidarity and our support in its legitimate response to terrorist acts.’
He added, “We know in our flesh that nothing can justify terrorism. There is no ‘Yes, but.’ Those who confuse the Palestinian cause with the justification of terrorism are making a moral, political and strategic mistake.”