France’s interior minister has called on police to ban a pro-Palestinian protest in Paris this weekend against the recent escalation of Israeli airstrikes on the besieged Palestinian territory of Gaza and the crackdown on occupied Jerusalem. ‘East and West Bank.
“I have asked the Paris police chief to ban protests on Saturday related to recent tensions in the Middle East,” Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
“Serious public order disturbances were observed in 2014,” he said, referring to protests against an Israeli offensive in Gaza that year.
“The prefects were instructed to be particularly vigilant and firm,” he added.
In Paris, I asked the prefect of police to ban Saturday’s demonstrations in connection with recent tensions in the Middle East. In 2014 serious disturbances of public order were observed in 2014. Prefects were instructed to be particularly vigilant and firm.
– Gerald DARMANIN (@GDarmanin) May 13, 2021
Activists had called for a protest in the Barbes district, north of Paris, to protest against the intensification of Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.
More than 100 people they have been killed in Gaza as of Monday, including 27 children, according to the enclave’s health authorities, and more than 580 injured after serious Israeli attacks.
At least six Israelis and one Indian citizen have been killed in Israel over rocket attacks by Hamas, the ruling political entity in Gaza.
The escalation of violence came later weeks of tensions in occupied East Jerusalem on a planned court ruling on the forced eviction of several Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
In a circular seen by the AFP news agency, Darmanin also urged local police chiefs to ensure the “protection of places of worship, schools, cultural centers and businesses in the Jewish community.”
During July 2014, several demonstrations took place in France to denounce an Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip.
On July 19, 2014, several thousand protesters challenged the ban on a demonstration in Barbes and the rally quickly degenerated into violence that lasted for hours.
“Demonstrating is a right”
Darmanin’s announcement was criticized by activists and politicians who said there was no reason to cancel the protests.
“Demonstrating is a right of which you should be the guarantor,” French parliamentarian Elsa Faucillon said in a tweet in response to Darmanin.
“And in this case, given our country’s silence on the reasons for the attacks, it even seems like a duty to me!”
Reason for absolutely lunar prohibition. Demonstrating is a right of which you should be the guarantor. And in this case, given the silence of our country on the reasons for the attacks, it even seems to me a duty! https://t.co/hzdb45sqos
– Elsa Faucillon (@ElsaFaucillon) May 13, 2021
Sihame Assbague, a Paris-based journalist, said Darmanin’s decision to ban the pro-Palestinian protest was for two reasons, including “there is French colonial solidarity with the Israeli occupation forces.”
“You do not support anti-colonial political mobilizations,” he added.
The head of the Justice and Freedoms Committee, Yasser Louati, told Al Jazeera from Paris that “we will leave if [French President Emmanuel] Macron and Darmanin like it or not.
“Palestinians have the right to exist and to defend themselves. If they can withstand the bombs and ethnic cleansing, we can hold back tear gas and stop them, ”said Louati, who also hosts the podcast Le Breakdown.
President of the detained solidarity group
On Wednesday, French authorities arrested the chairman of the Palestinian Solidarity Group France-Palestine Solidarity Association (AFPS), which had planned to organize a peaceful rally in Paris.
Bertrand Heilbronn was arrested after attending a meeting at the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs. He was accompanied by members of parliament and union representatives, according to an AFPS statement.
The solidarity group had called a rally in support of the Palestinians on Wednesday.
On Thursday, AFPS announced that Heilbronn had been released.
PRESS RELEASE The prisoner. from’@AFPSOfficial released, the mobilization for the #Palestine keep on going ! We call on France to guarantee the freedom of exp., To protect the Palestinians, to clearly condemn the attacks suffered and to take the necessary measures.https://t.co/fnY3WXcN9B
– france-palestine.org (@AFPSOfficiel) May 13, 2021