Paris protest against Hollande turns antisemitic
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”.