French riot police fired tear gas and used water cannons Saturday in Paris as protesters supporting Palestinians in the Gaza Strip defied a ban on marching in the French capital.
Thousands of people marched peacefully in other cities in France and elsewhere in Europe — including in London, Rome, Brussels and Madrid — to highlight the plight of the Palestinians.
In Paris, protesters scattered and played cat-and-mouse with security forces in the city’s northern neighborhoods after their starting point for a planned march was blocked.
Paris Police Chief Didier Lallement had ordered 4,200 security forces into the streets and closed shops around the kick-off point for the march in a working-class neighborhood after an administrative court confirmed the ban due to fears of violence. Authorities noted that a banned July 2014 pro-Palestinian protest In Paris against an Israeli offensive in Gaza degenerated into violence to justify the order against Saturday’s march.
Organizers sought to “denounce the latest Israeli aggressions” and mark the fleeing of Palestinians after Israel declared independence in 1948. “Stop Annexation. Palestine Will Vanquish,” read one poster in a small crowd facing off with police.