On May 13th, France imposed a ban on pro-Palestine demonstrations amid the escalating situation in the West Bank.
This is allegedly due to concerns that previous clashes and riots that took place in Paris over half a decade ago could happen again.
“Serious disturbances to public order were noted in 2014. Instructions were given to the Prefects to be particularly vigilant and firm,” Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Twitter, noting that he had directed Paris police to ban the demonstrations planned on May 8th against Israel’s conduct in Mount Temple.
Elsa Faucillon, a communist party senator who has been at the forefront of condemning the French government’s silence to Israeli attacks against Palestinians, called the justification for the move bizarre.
“Demonstrating is a right that you should be the guarantor of. And in this case, given the silence of our country on the reasons for the attacks, it even seems a duty to me,” she said.
Darmanin’s statement came in the wake of a last minute cancellation of a national rally organized by the France Palestine Solidarity Association (AFPS) on May 12th.
In a statement, the AFPS said demonstrators gathered outside the Invalides metro station in Paris had also been fined.
“These facts are totally unacceptable and show that this power is trying by all means to prevent our voices of solidarity with the Palestinian people.”
The group demanded the government “put an end to these repeated and scandalous attacks on freedom of expression and demonstration.” It has since vowed to hold gatherings across various cities and towns in France in the coming days to pressure France to act to “protect Palestinians in Jerusalem.”
More than 60 French MPs wrote to President Emmanuel Macron to initiate large-scale diplomatic action to reiterate to Israeli authorities Palestinians’ right to live in East Jerusalem, the letter said.
France, along with Germany, Egypt and Jordan, is pushing Israel and Palestine to resume dialogue to de-escalate the ongoing deadly conflict, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced in the Senate.
As such, the country famous for its democracy and protests has quickly turned to denying those fundamental rights.