A protest was called by leaders of the French Parliament, the Senate and the National Assembly as anti-semitic incidents have increased in the country since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack. More than 100,000 demonstrators were on the streets of Paris, Lyon, Marseilles and other cities to show their solidarity with the Jewish community.
Paris alone is home to many Jewish and Muslim communities, and tensions have been rising since the terrorist attack and Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip. According to The Guardian, there have been more than 12,250 anti-semitic incidents since the start of this conflict, which is three times the amount recorded in 2022.
Among the list of incidents, France 24 reports that a specific case on October 31 is currently being investigated as buildings and suburbs in Paris were plastered with Stars of David. The graffiti was associated with the Nazi occupation of France and the persecution of the Jewish people, it was widely condemned by the public.
Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne, the French senator Gérard Larcher and former presidents François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy were present at the march. President Emmannuel Macron did not take part, however, he shared his opinions by stating that there could be “no tolerance for the intolerable”.
Macron had called the Israeli President, Isaac Herzog, on Sunday to clear up remarks made on Friday to BBC where he stated that there is no justification for bombing civilians not connected with Hamas and had called on Israel to stop the killing in Gaza.
Macron’s statement issued by the Élysée Palace, quoted in The New York Times, states that “he does not and did not intend to accuse Israel of intentionally harming innocent civilians in the campaign against the terrorist organization Hamas,” and that “he unequivocally supports Israel’s right and duty to self-defense, and expressed his support for Israel’s war against Hamas”.
In relation to the protest, however, Larcher and National Assembly Leader, Yaël Braun-Pivet, say that there is no political statement surrounding the march. Braun-Privet had been the victim of several anti-semitic threats and is under police protection.
The march itself was organised six days ago, with 182,000 people marching across France, Braun-Privet says that this feat shows that the French are “capable of assembling rapidly, reuniting around our values, our history, and what I’m sure will be our future”.
More than 3,000 police officers and gendarmes were following the mass crowds to maintain security. The country has been on the alert for potential terrorist attacks after an incident of suspected Islamic radicalisation in Arras when a man stabbed a teacher at his former high school to death and injured two other employees, according to PBS.
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