France / 27-01-2014
Source: Le Monde Juif
Paris - A protest in Paris against French President Francois Hollande turned on Sunday to an antisemitic demonstration and ended in clashes between police and protesters.
AFP reported that several thousand people marched through Paris in a "Day of Anger" against Hollande. Security forces used tear gas to disperse several hundred youths who lobbed police with bottles, fireworks, iron bars and dustbins.
The march was organized by a group of some 50 small and mainly right-wing organizations and, while it failed to attract bigger anti-Hollande movements, Kol Yisrael radio reported that it was attended by neo-Nazi movements and Muslim extremists.
The demonstrators chanted antisemitic and anti-Israeli slogans, used the ‘quenelle’ antisemitic gesture that was invented by controversial comic Dieudonne and sang the anthem of the Nazi collaborators during World War II, according to Kol Yisrael.
Organizers claimed a turnout of some 120,000 people, however police estimated there were 17,000 people at the protest, reported AFP.
Some called for France's withdrawal from the European Union, while others urged the respect of freedom of speech, a reference to the government's recent decision to ban Dieudonne’s show because of its antisemitic content.
The local Jewish students union, the UEJF, condemned "antisemitic slogans and Nazi salutes" by some protesters.
"This 'Day of Anger' has turned into a day of hate," its president Sacha Reingewirtz told AFP.
Interior Minister Manuel Valls condemned the violence "by individuals, varied groups from the extreme and ultra-right, whose only goal is to create unrest".