President Francois Hollande has endorsed his government’s ban on marches against Israeli bombing in Gaza, saying there is a risk of clashes in France.
“That people have concerns about what’s happening, I understand,” Hollande said at a press conference in N’Djamena, Chad. “But we can’t allow the conflict to come to France. Last Sunday the protests degenerated and we had protesters trying to enter synagogues.”
Fighting between Israel and militants in the Gaza Strip this month has resulted in a Palestinian death toll of more than 300 and forced millions of Israelis to seek cover from rocket fire.
Today in the northern Paris neighborhood of Barbes, several hundred protesters defied the ban, taking to the streets under police surveillance, Agence France-Presse reported.
“I have asked the interior minister that the marches not be allowed,” Hollande said. “People who insist on protesting will have to face the consequences.”
To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Deen in Paris at email@example.com; Gregory Viscusi in Paris at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Vidya Root at email@example.com James Cone, Jurjen van de Pol