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France bans pro-Palestinian protests

French Palestine Rally

Anyone caught defying a French ban on pro-Palestinian protests is subject to stiff penalties, including steep fines and up to three years in prison.

French officials cited security concerns as a justification, after thugs from the French Jewish Defense League (LDJ) violently attacked pro-Palestinian protesters in an apparent attempt to silence them. Instead of safeguarding the democratic rights of protesters, the French government has rewarded LDJ violence with a decisive victory, using the law as a vehicle to achieve what street violence could not.

France bans pro-Palestinian protests

Cross post from Mideast Eye

PARIS – France’s socialist government provoked outrage on Friday by banning protests against Israeli action in Palestine. It is the only government in the western world to enact such a restriction and one of the few in the world to stop public outcries of support for the cause.

In what is viewed as an outrageous attack on democracy, Socialist Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said mass demonstrations planned for the weekend should be halted.

Cazeneuve said there was a “threat to public order”, while opponents said he was “criminalising” popular support for the Palestinian people.

Thousands were set to march against the ongoing slaughter in Gaza, calling for an immediate end to hostilities in which civilians including many children have been killed.

But Cazeneuve said that he feared that there might be a repeat of the fights between “ultra” Jewish vigilantes and pro-Palestinians, which broke out after a demonstration last Sunday.

Referring to the main Paris march, Cazeneuve said: “I consider that the conditions are not right to guarantee security.”

He welcomed a legal procedure instigated by the Paris police to ban the march, despite it already being widely advertised.

Cazeneuve also advised other prefects across France to examine planned marches on a “case by case” basis, and to ban “if appropriate”.

But Michele Sibony, of the Jewish Union for Peace, said: “By outlawing free speech by pro-Palestinian demonstrators, France puts itself in a unique position in the world and Europe.”

And Youssef Boussoumah, of the Party of the Indigenous of the Republic (PIR) said: “France is criminalising any show of solidarity with the Palestinian people.

“This is an absolute outrage, it is a continuation of attempts to muzzle the Palestinian people and to get them and their supporters in France to surrender absolutely to Israel’s oppression.”

Sylvie Perrot, another pro-Palestine activist from Paris, said: “Fascist states stop people demonstrating against wars – it is beyond belief that French Socialists are following their example.”

There has been a similar reaction on Twitter, where people expressed their anger with the decision.

Translation: “I am under shock demonstrating for Palestine in France is forbidden !!!!!! Where are we? Where is democracy????”

Anyone who turns up for what will amount to an illegal demonstration faces up to a year in prison, and a 15,000 euro fine.

If they hide their faces to avoid being identified, this sentence can be increased to three years, and a 45,000 fine.

Even those who publish details of an illegal rally on social media face up to a year in prison, and a 15,000 euro fine. This can be increased to seven years and a 100,000 fine if the postings lead to violence.

On Friday night lawyers for a number of groups hoping to campaign on behalf of Palestine on Saturday lodged an appeal against the ban in a Paris court.

There were false claims made last week that synagogues in Paris had been targeted by pro-Palestinian demonstrators, with worshipers trapped inside by the protesters. However, videos subsequently came to light showing armed vigilantes from a group called the Jewish Defence League (LDJ) baiting demonstrators into fights.

No LDJ members were arrests, despite evidence emerging that they were fighting and smashing up property in full view of the police.

Six pro-Palestine protestors were arrested for a variety of public order offences, although controversy has marred the arrests as the protesters insist they were nowhere near the Paris synagogues in question. 

A judicial enquiry is set to be launched into the false allegations made about the synagogue attacks. The synagogues were undamaged in the clashes.

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    • Stel En

      They ask for all the rights. But do they allow a single Buddhist or Hindu temple in their countries.

    • I feel a little annoyed sometimes when I see these passive Muslims not doing anything to either educate people about Islam, or thinking that Islam is just worship and doesn’t include outreach to non-Muslims or Dawah (we love to label them kuffar and condemn them to hell but how about inviting them to Islam?) or waiting for something terrible to happen and then feeling victimized. I agree it’s changing, insha’Allah for the better.

    • Ilisha, it’s not that I don’t believe in the power of protests. I have attended a few myself. It’s just that I think Muslims need to step up to the plate A LOT. Protesting in France and fighting with your countrymen about Israel will not help that much. I think Muslims have been afflicted with all this distress for a reason. We don’t open ourselves up and invite people to Islam. Just look at the US. I see masjids as closed spaces where people just go for Iftaars and worship. I see very few masjids that do open houses, open Iftaars or try to actively engage everyone around them and YES invite them to Islam. I heard in a durus that it’s every single Muslim’s task to invite a non-Muslim to Islam. USA is a superpower and controls most of the world. We are blessed to be in there. You can’t fight them, change them. I do agree with everything you say but in this month of Ramadan, I want every Muslim to actively recruit Muslims. We will see how longer US will support the terrorist activities of Israel once the demographics change. I know that’s not the complete and the one and only route but at least people should make it a significant route. Educate about Islam!

    • Tarig Musa

      Democracy is fake! You have one of 2 or 3 choices and when in power all of them do the same things. It’s a sham designed to give you the illusion of choice my friend.

    • What you say is good but I tend to think that protest, peaceful or not, is not going to affect anyone in any way. Perhaps, I have become too cynical but I have lost complete hope in how the business regarding Israel has been conducted for the past few decades.

    • The French must wonder why the French (the pro-Palestinians and the pro-Israelis) fight about a foreign piece of land. Kind of unfortunate it is, whatever is happening in Palestine (the massacre) and how it has divided what would have been people of the same country (French in this case). The more I think about this, the more I tend to think that the Palestinians are not going to get justice. Perhaps we will need a divine intervention (God says enough is enough) because the US will never withdraw support and the more we fight in all different countries with our own country mates (meaning the pro-Palestinians vs. the pro- Israelis in US, France, other places in Europe), the more it doesn’t solve anything. Just thinking out loud what the solution will be. The Arab countries around Israel are useless – if somebody got to give, it will be Israel and they won’t do that. The strategy has to change because the current one doesn’t work.

    • Diego Hernandez

      Another ludicrous example of “whatabouttery”. France is now criminalising freedom of assembly. I think we’re right to expect better of a centuries old EU nation with a UN Security Council permanent seat than an unstable Arab nation.

      FYI, North Africa and West Asia were severely destabilised by French interference in the 19th and 20th centuries. In order to shirk the payment of its debts to Algiers and its merchants, France used the pretext of the Algerian dey hitting a French diplomat with a fan to justify invading and colonising the place. The French leadership started a bloody war of conquest and a began 130 years of brutal occupation because of a fucking fan.

      The French were very enthusiastic about the Sykes-Picot agreement and the Treaty of Sevres, which sliced West Asia up and prevented it from becoming the stable, prosperous region it could have been. The Suez Crisis as well, which resulted in Nasser’s anti-democratic tendencies exacerbating. France gave Israel assistance for the development of a nuclear weapons programme, a decision which still threatens a nuclear escalation in West Asia. France pumped a lot of armaments into Saddam Hussein’s Iraq during its war with Iran.

      It’s hard for “Arabs” countries to develop democracies if there are all these military juntas, personality cults, theocratic paramilitaries and absolute monarchies being propped up by the likes of the USA, UK and France. Incidentally, France has done a bit more of this propping up in recent days.

    • Just_Stopping_By

      I’m actually quite glad to see the protesters. It should not surprise you that I don’t fully agree with the protesters, though I do share some of their views. But I strongly believe that they should have the right to peacefully express those views. And, the more the violence and death is publicly protested and mourned, the more the pressure to end them.

      “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” ~ Incorrectly but commonly attributed to Voltaire. I’m more of a wimp, so I will defend that right with my keyboard, but defend it nonetheless.

      Thanks for highlighting the response to an attempt at political censorship.

    • Heinz Catsup

      It’s bad enough they ban religious clothing but this?

    • Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité!

      France finally returns to her bloody roots among Robespierre and the sans-culottes. They were not the biggest fans of free speech then; it’s only logical that current policies will reflect this.

    • Iman

      Can you explain to me what part of democracy works?

    • Anonymous

      I wouldn’t call Democracy fake, most of the time it works, but it has a tendency to be abused by those who profit out of human suffering.

      Similar to Socialism, in theory it could work, but in reality its a nightmare.

      What France’s doing is in-spite of democracy not the result of it.

    • Iman

      This incident is another example that the west democracy is fake like Rome’s democracy . Democracy exist among the elites not the people.

    • Anonymous

      It shows hypocrisy on part of the French government.

      If an Arab or Muslim nation did the same thing, we will never hear the end of it on the media.

      If the French really cared about public safety, they would separate the protesters to different parts of the city, or use the police to find the vandals and hologins who started the fights.

      As such, this law is an affront to freedom of expression and speech

    • Iman

      “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize ” Voltaire . Can you imagine the media, If any Arab or Muslim country did what France did today.

    • sasboy

      These are the kind of draconian laws that make me grateful I have never been to France, never intend to go there and probably never will go there.

    • Mohamed Al Saadoon

      Hitler must be giggling in his grave.

    • mindy1

      So rather than protecting people you tell them to shut up? :/

    • Gravitytr1

      The french keep showing their true values again and again but nothing seems to be done about it.

    • GaribaldiOfLoonwatch

      Gotta love those French values.

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