Last week the French Interior Minister decided to place a ban on rallies against Israel after several protests spiraled out of control in several locations in and around Paris. The ban was largely ignored.
Although a planned pro-Hamas rally scheduled for Saturday was called off, on Sunday a riot broke out after a crowd gathered at a northern Paris subway station. The crowd was initially calm, but then protesters, some wearing masks, began chanting, running and scaling walls of buildings, hoisting Hamas flags and tearing Israeli flags.
A firebomb smashed into a synagogue, which torched part of the house of worship. A synagogue nearby was also reportedly attacked, and several cars were set aflame.
Protesters also smashed the windshields of several parked cars and looted shops, including a funeral parlor and a drugstore. Police were forced to use tear gas and rubber bullets to break up the rioting, according to Sky News.
The violence took place in Sarcelles, a parisienne suburb with a large Sephardic population.
On Saturday, thousands of demonstrators protesting Israel’s military operation in Gaza confronted police in central Paris. Fourteen police officers were lightly wounded and 38 protesters were arrested.
Unruly protests against Israel’s use of its military to defend its citizens from terrorism were held this weekend in several European cities. Thousands marched in protest of Israeli actions and in support of the terrorists in Gaza in the cities of London and Vienna.
There were also demonstrations in cities across Canada and the United States, including in Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia.
There was a pro-Israel rally in Philadelphia on Friday, which was followed by a much larger anti-Israel protest. A local rabbi who was present said a police officer told him they could not guarantee the safety of the Israel supporters.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com
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