Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in central Paris to protest a controversial new ban on pro-Palestinian rallies in the country. French police and gendarmerie dispersed the crowds with tear gas and water cannons. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin announced the ban earlier in the day, citing public order concerns. He called for the prohibition of pro-Palestinian demonstrations and called for the protection of Jewish locations, such as synagogues and schools.
Any foreigner committing acts of anti-Semitism on French soil will be “immediately expelled.” The ban follows a deadly attack by Hamas on Israel, which killed over 1,200 people. The Israeli government has retaliated with overwhelming force in Gaza, where airstrikes have killed over 1,500 people and shut off water and fuel supplies to the entire population. As the conflict escalates, protests in support of both Israelis and Palestinians have been seen worldwide, some resulting in violent clashes.
French President Emmanuel Macron has urged the French people to remain united in his address, stating that unity will protect them from hatred. Demonstrators in the historic Place de la Republique protested against the ban on pro-Palestinian rallies, claiming it is “not normal under the rule of law.” One attendee, Ryan, criticized the ban as a “great injustice” and claimed he had been fined 135 euros for wearing the keffiyeh, a traditional Palestinian scarf.
France is among several European nations, including the UK and Germany, where security measures have been increased amid fears of reprisals against Jewish communities. The protesters argued that freedom is no longer available in France and that demonstrations to show the truth are necessary.