France Places Total Ban On Pro-Palestinian Protests

On Thursday, hundreds of protesters gathered in the heart of Paris, defying the country’s new prohibition on pro-Palestinian protests.

Images showed French police and gendarmes using tear gas and water cannons to disperse the gathering.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin informed the country’s police of the ban earlier that day, citing concerns about public order as the reason. The minister has stated that pro-Palestinian demonstrations must be banned because they threaten public safety.

He further said that any attempt to organize protests of this nature will result in arrests.

Darmanin also demanded police protect synagogues and schools frequented by French Jews and promised “immediate expulsion” for any foreigner perpetrating anti-Semitic activities in France.

The embargo comes after extremist Hamas launched a large-scale attack on Israel over the weekend, killing over 1,200 people.

Israel has responded to Hamas’ control of the coastal enclave of Gaza with heavy military power. Israeli authorities have cut off water and gasoline to the community after airstrikes killed over 1,500 people in the heavily populated neighborhood.

Protests favoring Israelis and Palestinians have been observed worldwide as the conflict reaches record heights, with some turning violent.

Thursday’s demonstration in Paris’s famous Place de la Republique was marked by chants of “We are all Palestinian” and “Palestine will live, Palestine will prevail,” among other French slogans.

The restriction on pro-Palestinian protests is “not normal under the rule of law,” one rallygoer, Ryan, told Reuters.

They believe France is a great country, but protesting in the streets is illegal. Because “freedom is no longer here,” he continued, “we are forced to break French law, as one would say, and demonstrate to reveal the truth.”

Another demonstrator who wore a keffiyeh, a traditional Palestinian scarf, was fined 135 euros (about $140) and called the ban an “injustice.”

Fears of retaliation against members of Jewish communities have prompted increased security measures in various European countries, including France, the United Kingdom, and Germany.